CUSP Goes Rural Image

Read: CUSP Goes Rural For A Day

Date: April 20, 2012

Author: Ross Colebatch

Read: CUSP Update: Pit Stop

Date: April 20, 2012

Author: Danielle Robson

Goodness. Was it really 27 October 2011 the last time I blogged? Wow. Time flies when you’re neck-deep in an exciting, rewarding (and all-consuming) project!

To say that a lot has happened since my last post would be stating the bleeding obvious. We’ve tweaked the exhibition title, searched high and low for some of the most interesting thinkers in the country, created a shortlist, a shorter list, and then an even shorter-almost-final list of exhibitors, asked ourselves lots of questions that we don’t yet know the answer to, welcomed two new Design Partners and an Industry Partner to the project (more on that soon), kicked off work on the project’s identity and website, brought the whole Object team into the worker-bee fold and begun conversations with our national venue partners about how we can make this project truly national in scope.

The title tweak is really just that – a small addition to the word ‘design’ to give this program a sense of action. Now called CUSP: Designing for the Next Decade, the title reflects the moving, growing and cumulative nature of the program, and the people and projects that will feature in it.

Probably the biggest shift in gear for the project during this period was getting to a point where we have a list of incredible thinkers who we are in the process of formally inviting to participate in CUSP. This was no small feat, and came out of many, many hours of research and conversations with wonderfully generous people from all over the country.

What we came to realise during the research for this project was that we weren’t looking for appropriate work to curate into an exhibition. Rather, we were trying to find designers who have a particular way of thinking and working. We’ve been intermittently referring to this ‘thing’ as ‘vision’ or ‘approach’ or ‘a design idea’. What we mean by this is an overarching approach the designer or design group pursue to guide and grow their practice. By using the designer’s vision as the anchor for CUSP, rather than their work, we are refocusing the driver of the program from outcomes on to process.

And why do we want to do that? Because we want CUSP to be an inclusive project that explores the potential of design as a methodology that can affect positive change and enrich the experience of life. By unpacking process, we want to get to the heart of what’s going on: what drives these designers, what do they believe is possible, how do they get there – and furthermore, what does that mean for how I (You, Me, Us) live?

For a few months at the beginning of this year, Kate Rhodes and I embarked on a long-distance collaboration that relied on Skype calls, Dropbox and email (Kate is based in Melbourne, myself in Sydney) to compile a list of 20 Australian designers from the mounds of content already gathered as well as new research by Kate and myself. This shortlist was then discussed and debated by the Curatorial Advisory Group* in late March with a view to reaching an agreed list of 12 exhibitors for the project.

We didn’t quite agree on 12. There were about nine that formed the core, and then a group of about five that are currently undergoing more thinking, talking and research. We’re working on it, and will be able to tell you who some of these excellent people are soon.

So stay tuned. I promise to be more diligent in my updates. And next time Ross glares at me demanding more blog posts, I’ll try not to Stop, Drop, and Roll out of his line of sight….

*CUSP’s Curatorial Advisory Group are a group who meet about once a month to oversee the creative direction of CUSP and ensure the project delivers on its core objectives. This group includes Anthony Burke, Head of School of Architecture, UTS; Lawrence Wallen, Head of School of Design, UTS; Steven Pozel, Director, Object; Kathryn Hunyor, Head of Creative Programs, Object; Kate Rhodes, Curator, RMIT Design Hub and Adjunct Curator Object; Danielle Robson, Producer: Programs and Research, Object; Ross Colebatch, Producer: Digital and Publishing, Object; Annette Mauer, Learning Coordinator, Object.

This post originally appeared here on Object Eye.