Module: Dreaming democracies

This module focuses on designing physical prototypes/probes (products, tools, environments, events, etc.) that can support the emergence of new ways of working and collaboration within the transformation paradigm. You will design these prototypes/probes for the changing relationship between society and government; nationally, but also locally. As clients we will have the council and board from Eersel, Eindhoven and one or several Ministries.

What I learned during this module:

  • Introduction Design in Skils Framework which you can use to learn and apply embodiment and skilful coping in the design process
  • The module supported me to use my own first person point of view in order to boost empathy and engagement with citizens and civil servants.
  • By starting from a social connection perspective in Eindhoven, I explored the future of local democracies, through a specific case, in which I incorporated the local context (community, culture and other nuances).
  • The module focused on socio-technological systems, which gave a specific flavour to the competency Form and Senses. I did not really focus on or developed the aesthetics of appearance. It was far more focused on the aesthetics of the system and to a certain extend, the aesthetics of interaction. Moreover, I gave attention to the aesthetics of the short movies made during the module.



The first assignment was to position yourself to the current system. It was the first time that I video recorded myself and learned that this is not as easy at it looks. Looking back I would have liked to watch more in the camera, or use completely different footage. Footage and story do not have to have a direct link is something I learned watching the other movies.


The second assignment was to film a skill and let someone else experience your skill.


The third assignment was to create an “enabling tool” that let others experience the bodily qualities of your skill.


This was my reflection after the first week.


After the first week this was our concept to strengthen the connection between civilians in local communities.To develop this concept we decided to analyse literature, and brainstorm about the concept. We did not make a video for the next day but a document so that we could get some feedback on our process. This document can be found here.

The final result can be found at the top of this page or go to Vimeo directly. 



For the full feedback follow this link.

Keep this positive energy and open attitude by asking questions and searching for interaction with others, including people that might bring new perspectives. Stay critical with respect to your deliverables, and try to use reflection in, on and for action. Since you feel that the last reflection is always a hurdle, maybe you could find a way to incorporate in the module itself, so it is not that “mountain” at the end.

Moreover, your reflection on the amount of freedom is useful for us. Although it would be interesting for you to figure out why you felt the pressure of making a video everyday, whereas in the second week that was not obligatorily anymore. The team/you was/were in charge of their/your own process. But maybe the shift was too big, the influence of the first week still too present, or the preferred way of communication of the lecturers still too present.

It think it would be good for you to figure out how much self-directedness is comfortable for you, and try to play with it during your projects. I have the impression, also based on previous experiences, that you prefer some structure in your process, preferably pre-determined. But maybe we are wrong and is it simply the ‘clash’ between our more hands-on, reflection on action approach vs your more analytical approach, which feels in our perception sometimes as a freeze. It might be good for you to figure out if doing (like going into context, e.g. like Fiona & Rob did) would have been helpful for you, and if so, in which way and how to incorporate it in your process.


Reflection on feedback

In my personality I have always noticed that I am quite uncertain, I want to do things in the right way, but I am also stubborn and creative. This sometimes clashes and if I don’t know the lecturers expectations I get frustrated. I learned a lot of this self-directed approach of the module although I get a bit enough of all the self-directness of this study. There are so many intelligent people here, can I only learn from my own initiatives?  This would mean for me that I would not need this study any-more because I know I can learn self-directed. Frameworks, literature, documentaries, discussions on concepts are the kind of things I want to learn.

Taking more initiatives means for me taking more risks, and maybe I should get comfortable to do so. Trusting my intuition and use less time to analyse is again a lesson that I learned at this module.

Lecturers: Caroline Hummels, Joep Frens Semester: M21 Team Members: Yudan Ma, Boya Zhang Competencies: Social Cultural Awareness, Ideas and Concepts, Design and research processes, Form and senses, Design and business processes, User focus and perspective Duration: 2 weeks