The ‘contact zone’ is a theoretical concept, a trope for visualizing solutions to conflicts. Coined and defined by Mary Louise Pratt as ‘social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other’ (Pratt 1991: 4). This studio set out to ask: how can this concept compliment design to create positive change in the world?
It’s in listening to and considering other diverse – perhaps overlooked – and sometimes obtuse views that we can find new areas to explore and new means of creating change to help resolve possible areas of conflict. It allows us to see common threads; find areas that need light shone on them; or perhaps lay misconceptions to rest. This was the starting point as students probed for diverse viewpoints through their Design Research Kits, analysed them in a Report of Findings publication and created an informed campaign in response.