Erasmus Staff Exchange to METU

In March 2014, Professor Stuart Walker taught at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey

Stuart Walker recently spent a week at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. He delivered two extended lecture-discussion sessions: Designing Sustainability: Making radical changes in a material world, based on his new book of the same name (Routledge, 2014), and Imagination’s Promise: a practice-based approach to design research for sustainability, based on a chapter of the same name published in his book The Handbook of Design for Sustainability edited with Jacques Giard of Arizona State University (Bloomsbury, 2013). He also conducted undergraduate design studio reviews and held a number of one-to-one seminars with design researchers, PhD and MSc students.

Following the week at METU, a visit was paid to Cappadocia to see the World Heritage site at Göreme with its ancient underground Orthodox churches, some with well-preserved murals, and to explore folk-design traditions related to his current research. He also held a series of supervision meetings, with Lancaster PhD student, Hazal Gumus, visting from Izmir, where she is currently teaching design courses at the university.

The exchange wrapped up with attendance at an exhibition of student work from the design studio of Prof. Cagla Dogan, whose students had been exploring lighting designs in the context of sustainability – the work was beautifully presented and very inspiring. It included designs that combined traditional lace-making with moulded forms using corn-starch, which could simply be dissolved in water at the end of its life, returning the lace to its original form, and an innovative use of 3D printing whereby a specially built printer created lampshade forms in clay – the clay was dried to a biscuit-like finish and integrated into lighting designs. Again, at the end of its useful life, the clay could be mixed with water and re-used.