Tangible Thinking: the impact value of oblique co-design & tacit knowledge

Hannah Korsmeyer and Allison Edwards (Monash University)
2017 Conference

A sustainable and resilient society requires equitable access for all to partake and contribute. Focusing on several interdisciplinary case studies, this paper explores how ‘oblique co-design’ and other design-inspired methodologies can reveal latent and tacit knowledge towards community impacts. A recent collaborative design workshop with Plan International Australia, Monash University XYX Research Lab, community stakeholders, and young female activists, pioneers a scalable methodology for involving diverse members of the community. This case study transformed a user-created, digital cultural map into actionable proposals and initiatives. The research finds that initial designerly analysis of the data explored through these co-design methods, provides insights of direct use to those concerned with the cultural vibrancy and safety of the city of Melbourne (including the police, public transport operators and local government). Like all cities, Melbourne is changing rapidly and the need for feedback about the city from underrepresented voices is essential to monitor the transition towards greater equity of access. This paper examines how these design techniques can be a valuable disruptive mechanism for engaging citizens and synthesizing diverse perspectives in order to inform an inclusive future vision

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About the author

Hannah Korsmeyer, Monash University



With a background in neuroscience, Hannah Korsmeyer is interested in how humans construct the realities that shape our lived experience and how different research methodologies may be blended to open new possibilities. Following her work designing educational play environments for young homeless children living in family shelters, she earned a masters degree in Design: Critical Practice from Goldsmiths, University of London. At Goldsmiths, she developed technological research devices for exploring concepts of gender. Her educational practice centres on understanding theory through prototyping and using design methods to reveal latent knowledge.

Allison Edwards, Monash University


Delighting in blurring the lines between work + play, Allison Edwards’ research explores playful methods for creating inclusive, energetic workshop experiences and examining the contributions of this towards collaborative creation. These workshops are informed by research conducted during her Masters of Design at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. Her educational practice centres around challenging students’ ideas of failure and experimentation in the design process; in hopes that her students can tackle the challenges that face contemporary designers – and have fun while doing so.