Complex problems and opportunities increasingly evade resolution or fulfillment through the approach of a single discipline. Problem-based and collaborative learning (C&PBL), while not new, recognises the value and limits of disciplinary based knowledge and prepares students to engage with significant and complex issues.
Studio based craft and design (C&D) education programs have been slow and sometimes resistant to C&PBL. Motivated perhaps to safeguard craft knowledge by roping off the discipline from the interference of ‘corrupted’ practices. This has often contributed to an impression of a discipline out of touch and perhaps out of time.
This paper examines a new course ‘Multiples and Production: The Unique Offering’ (M&P), a key element of recent refinements to C&D courses and programs at the Australian National University, School of Art (ANU SoA). M&P uses the domestic table as a location and setting for the course and introduces students to a field spanning bespoke to industrial production, and asks one simple and complex question: ‘Why make anything for a world already filled with stuff? This course operates outside the usual disciplinary domains of C&D by interrogating the way we produce, consume and understand domestic objects.
We argue that C&PBL can connect C&D pedagogy to some of the most salient issues of our time and that this approach provides C&D students with strategies and skills to conduct an agile practice in a rapidly changing and complex world.