Since late September, classes began for this semester in full earnest. After a year of disruption on my part, I finally got the chance to take a full load of courses which have kept me engaged, taught me something new, and exercised skills I haven’t used since studying for my O Levels in 1982.
I’ve focused on crafting for myself a rapid introduction to sustainability, climate change adaptation, mitigation, and reduction strategies, situating it in systems thinking, transitions, the built environment, context, culture, and design. I am now taking lectures which are beginning to saturate me with the modicum of understanding necessary to evaluate the landscape of the operating environment for an inclusive and circular approach to transformation of economic systems. While I’m primarily taught theory in the context of the developed world, there is ample support for contextualizing my contributions to knowledge from my datasets and fieldwork from the developing world.
I’ve finally arrived at the point where I can say that I am doctoral candidate exploring social design in the nordic tradition as a research practice. My focus is more on experimenting with methods and tools for the co-generation of novel knowledge that benefits all the participants concerned as stakeholders in a qualitative research project. Can I play around with the actual design research processes and make them the object of my social design experiments towards creating a better participation experience for marginalized and disadvantaged members of a society or community?
This is a recent refinement of my focus area, and is inspired by Tero Mustonen’s scholarly works documenting the social practices of subsistence fishing and hunting in rural Eastern Finland, taking the case of Selkie village and its environs. By approaching these traditional activities of rural Finns as social practices embodying traditional knowledge that can inform environmental justice, Mustonen is working on reallocation of maldistribution in a system of justice based on epistemological evidence. In more than a decade of work, his community has reincarnated the environment they depend on for their livelihoods as fishers and hunters; long poisoned by toxic runoffs from industrial activity on their lands.
I feel like I’ve lost a year of studies and have to make up for the gap. I hope to come back to regular writing once this semester and its obligations are over. I would have completed most of my necessary study credits by then and will be reserving my time for writing.