This conference is designed around the exploration of understanding and acting as circularly conjoined. Acting and understanding will be given equal weight, with each framing the other. The processes of learning are a major means of moving between the two, and take place in an environment, often framed as formal or informal education. Discussion of these processes and context provide a means of relating practical proposals for interventions and theoretical debate.
The fundamental position of the conference is based in circular causality, which was at the heart of the concerns of the Macy Conferences where cybernetics took its contemporary form. We see the old simplification that acting is located in understanding and operates through linear causality, as providing inadequate explanation for lived experience.
As a collaborative venture between participants, the conference is intended to generate proposals for ways of acting and to develop understandings in the context of the environment within which the conference takes place. The challenges faced by the participants in their learning activities (and, of course, experiences), as well as by the University which is hosting the conference will provide rich opportunities to reflect on socioeconomic, technological, political, historical, designerly and educational concerns in a unique, delightful and exciting way. How does understanding shape acting? How does acting shape understanding?
The conference will be a conversational conference. We will work together (collaborate) in small groups and through plenary sessions, to improve understanding and acting, explored together.
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The worst misstep one can make in design is to solve the wrong problem.
-- John Carroll, Cited by Malcolm McCullough in Digital Ground, 2004
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