Amandine Fong (She / Her)
Moving away from human-centred design, I like to use design as a way to understand, connect and question the environment I find myself in, using design as a way to explore local environments at different scales of time and space, and human and non-human.
Navigating between different worlds and territories my design practice situates itself between human and social sciences, and design. I combine strategic approaches, community engagement, and future and critical thinking with the art of storytelling and craft to design holistic experiences aiming to create change and discussion on how things could be.
Alternating between the abstract and the tangible I use design to communicate complex systems to make them relatable and approachable.
Portrait taken by Eugenia Rosina
After actively participating in the economic success of Glasgow, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Clyde was a polluted River with barely any life. Following several urban policies and rapid industrialisation, the River is today perceived as a “dead River”, a dead
environment that has lost its purpose.
Using a multispecies approach this project explores how to move beyond anthropocentric ways of thinking by looking at a local environment through a more-than-human lens. Rethinking our relationship with the environment invites us to produce new narratives which can reshape our understanding of our local environment and contribute to a new culture of practices.
Clota explores how we relate to the local environment and how design can participate in the creation of more-than-human narratives in the Clyde region. The context of Glasgow and the Clyde is here used as an environment of exploration of how things are and how things could be otherwise.
Through a series of speculative artefacts, taking place in 2035, Clota suggests new ways to interact and understand the River Clyde. Moving beyond a human-centred approach invites us to decentre our relationship with the environment and consider other beings as equal. In 2035, the Clyde region becomes a Bioregion, that is co-govern by local authorities, communities and non-humans.
To reconnect people with the River Clyde, a series of community places, called “Clyde Meeting Point” have been developed. These communities can meet, look and feel the River. The school also uses the spaces to educate children regarding the River Ecosystem. In addition, one can follow the human and non-humans local activity through the “Clyde News journal”, a multispecies inclusive newspaper of the Clyde Bioregion. This newspaper is complemented by a novel called “The Untold Story of the Salmon”, narrating to young audiences the Clyde’s history from the perspective of more-than-human beings. Last but not least, through a River Constellation tool and new mapping practices, Clota suggests other ways to represent our local environment, highlighting our co-dependency with other beings and possible unattended consequences of human actions.
This future vision of the Clyde environment offers a multilayered approach to creating more-than-human narratives and practices, targeting different levels of the society, with the ultimate aim to foster a more mutual and plural relationship with the River environment.
Collaborative Futures is an academic project which runs in partnership between the Innovation School at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and the Centre for Civic Innovation (CCI) at Glasgow City Council over a four-month period. This project forms a significant part of the Masters of European (MEDes) final year of study at GSA, together with graduates of the Innovation School M.Des program, and is the third iteration of Collaborative Futures with CCI as the project partner.
This year’s brief Glasgow’s Food Futures: Neighbourhoods of Innovation 2031 asked the project team to explore the Glasgow food system and the ways in which it impacts both people and place in order to help inform new social innovations for the city. At its core, the project was an exploration of social innovation and speculative futures, storytelling as a means to communicate ideas and invite collaboration.
Our collaborative approach used a bespoke co-production strategy to engage with diverse stakeholders including our partners at CCI and Glasgow Council, academics, experts, civic stakeholders, local growers, producers and citizens. Through exploration, we identified new opportunities for Glasgow’s future that seek to augment abundance, equity, identity, dignity and choice. Our future vision sets out opportunities for devolved and decentralised civic power, using neighbourhood strategies to engage under-served communities so that all may be given a seat at the table.
“If we give citizens a voice to enable them to create an environment they love, respect and care for, together – are we not building creative, successful, respectful citizens for the future?”
Professing Practice is a collaboration between the Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow Clyde College Associate Student Scheme, which aims to widen access for Scottish-domiciled students and provide equal opportunities for college students. The progression manager Elizabeth Beidler worked together with this year’s MEDes students to introduce students to the GSA.
The project allows the MEDes students to explore teaching and educational theory by delivering two workshops to students from the HNC Art and Design course – a generalist programme comparable to the first year of art school. These meetings were meant to support the College students in their application to the Glasgow School of Art.
The first workshop focused on getting to know the students and their needs. Through a series of activities, they explored their personal interest in art and design and shared what they wanted to learn, combining a quiz with the medium of collage. The second workshop aimed at building the student’s confidence, showing them the value of reflection, collaboration, and the articulation of a body of work. Overall, both sessions encouraged the students to explore new territories of creation and helped them feel more secure in the design process. By having the right amount of support and encouraging personal and collective reflection, the students were able to navigate within the “chaos” of the design process – transforming discomfort to comfort.
“Amandine and Hannah encouraged and inspired a small group of rather reserved associate students through the challenging medium of Zoom. The participants actively engaged with activities that were creative, challenging and thoughtfully designed. Having such crucial art school skills introduced by students is a brilliant opportunity for this group of prospective GSA students. This project continues to be a highlight of the associate scheme.”
Elizabeth Beidler, Progression Manager, GSA