The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Proximities of Design: Social Design Practice in the Context of Contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico

Proximities of Design: Social Design Practice in the Context of Contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico
Proximities of Design: Social Design Practice in the Context of Contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico
This research adopts ethnographic methods to locate and document a practice on social design undertaken in the context of Oaxaca in Mexico. The concept of social design in this context should be understood as an action of ‘making together’. Thus, the practice is aimed at understanding local identity and exploring ways in which social design practice may generate changes, in socioeconomic and political contexts, that could support local identities within artisan communities in relation to the global markets.
Through the practice of social design, the making of communities’ cultural artefacts aims to favour the exchange of knowledge and values between communities and design practitioners so that, in a context of equality, this dialogue – as a practice of correspondence – may be assimilated by their social, economic and, perhaps, their political structure.
Through creative process and correspondence, workshops take place in two different indigenous artisan communities from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where the socio-political context, values, and cultural heritage are also studied. As part of the practice, a group of artisans and six designers acting as facilitators participate in workshops, which take place two or three times a year over a three-year period. During this time, the relationships of trust, the exchange of knowledge and the techniques undergo a transformation until paths of common approach are reached, uncovering an exchange through the practice of design. Developing a greater awareness of the experience of the design process was important, as it relates to the need to develop adequate ways of framing such experiences in the realm of the social action and the building of environments for design which I termed ‘proximities of design’, referring to the situations during the practice which describe a given framed environment based on my own reflections and knowledge of design.
Conversations between the design practitioners and the artisans, as well as the conflicts and debates among the designers, have been documented. The use of video, audio, photographs, transcriptions and notes that capture ‘the making’, the different gestural languages, attitudes and conversations have been used to record the process.
The research finds that social design practice can manifest itself in the approach and understanding of local communities, establishing an exchange of knowledge that may open new ways of supporting local communities and influence their markets on a global level. Moreover, this process opens new research avenues and joins a crossroads between collaborative work and the work of social design practice together with the field of material culture.
I structure the thesis by framing the work around social design practice and how, within this context, social design represents a possible tool for building resilient identities. In Chapter 1, I will outline my objectives and my practice, introducing key terms for my research. In Chapter 2, I situate my research in the concept of globalization and examine its consequences for community needs, in Chapter 3, I examine, in the context of Mexico, the social political factors that shaped
the indigenous narrative and policy in Mexico and establish my humanistic approach to the people and objects involved in this research. In Chapter 4, I will describe how methodology was deployed through workshops explaining research and the development of fieldwork. In Chapter 5, I offer a more specific account of the practice itself, which involves a form of reflective communication for social design, developing collaborative interactions framed by the process of
making things together: between people with different cultural backgrounds, economic systems and core beliefs. I structure transformative situations during the design process that I termed ‘proximities of design’. The situations were undertaken with respect to people, places and materials, exchanging techniques and materials among participants. In the conclusion, I reflect on the thesis, delivering my final remarks and upholding the overall thesis with wider insights into the future of research in this field.
University of Southampton
Malvar Vazquez, Maria Carmen
b123a8e6-f132-468f-a940-5a3e1c85a9cd
Malvar Vazquez, Maria Carmen
b123a8e6-f132-468f-a940-5a3e1c85a9cd
Manghani, Sunil
75650a9a-458d-4e1a-9480-94491300e385
Cid Moragas, Daniel
c7e1e6ac-7f91-4109-8c0d-3f093ca20010

Malvar Vazquez, Maria Carmen (2021) Proximities of Design: Social Design Practice in the Context of Contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 370pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This research adopts ethnographic methods to locate and document a practice on social design undertaken in the context of Oaxaca in Mexico. The concept of social design in this context should be understood as an action of ‘making together’. Thus, the practice is aimed at understanding local identity and exploring ways in which social design practice may generate changes, in socioeconomic and political contexts, that could support local identities within artisan communities in relation to the global markets.
Through the practice of social design, the making of communities’ cultural artefacts aims to favour the exchange of knowledge and values between communities and design practitioners so that, in a context of equality, this dialogue – as a practice of correspondence – may be assimilated by their social, economic and, perhaps, their political structure.
Through creative process and correspondence, workshops take place in two different indigenous artisan communities from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where the socio-political context, values, and cultural heritage are also studied. As part of the practice, a group of artisans and six designers acting as facilitators participate in workshops, which take place two or three times a year over a three-year period. During this time, the relationships of trust, the exchange of knowledge and the techniques undergo a transformation until paths of common approach are reached, uncovering an exchange through the practice of design. Developing a greater awareness of the experience of the design process was important, as it relates to the need to develop adequate ways of framing such experiences in the realm of the social action and the building of environments for design which I termed ‘proximities of design’, referring to the situations during the practice which describe a given framed environment based on my own reflections and knowledge of design.
Conversations between the design practitioners and the artisans, as well as the conflicts and debates among the designers, have been documented. The use of video, audio, photographs, transcriptions and notes that capture ‘the making’, the different gestural languages, attitudes and conversations have been used to record the process.
The research finds that social design practice can manifest itself in the approach and understanding of local communities, establishing an exchange of knowledge that may open new ways of supporting local communities and influence their markets on a global level. Moreover, this process opens new research avenues and joins a crossroads between collaborative work and the work of social design practice together with the field of material culture.
I structure the thesis by framing the work around social design practice and how, within this context, social design represents a possible tool for building resilient identities. In Chapter 1, I will outline my objectives and my practice, introducing key terms for my research. In Chapter 2, I situate my research in the concept of globalization and examine its consequences for community needs, in Chapter 3, I examine, in the context of Mexico, the social political factors that shaped
the indigenous narrative and policy in Mexico and establish my humanistic approach to the people and objects involved in this research. In Chapter 4, I will describe how methodology was deployed through workshops explaining research and the development of fieldwork. In Chapter 5, I offer a more specific account of the practice itself, which involves a form of reflective communication for social design, developing collaborative interactions framed by the process of
making things together: between people with different cultural backgrounds, economic systems and core beliefs. I structure transformative situations during the design process that I termed ‘proximities of design’. The situations were undertaken with respect to people, places and materials, exchanging techniques and materials among participants. In the conclusion, I reflect on the thesis, delivering my final remarks and upholding the overall thesis with wider insights into the future of research in this field.

Text
Proximities of Design: Social Design Practice in the Context of Contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (17MB)
Text
March 9 carmen malvar Permission to dep...thesis - form copy - flattened (1).pdf copy
Restricted to Repository staff only

More information

Published date: January 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 452459
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/452459
PURE UUID: 16135daf-84d9-4048-98ea-aa341da0c3f7
ORCID for Sunil Manghani: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6406-7456

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Dec 2021 08:27
Last modified: 26 Oct 2023 01:52

Export record

Contributors

Author: Maria Carmen Malvar Vazquez
Thesis advisor: Sunil Manghani ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Daniel Cid Moragas

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×