WHEN: 2.1.-24.5.2017, Final Presentation 22.5.2017 in Laituri TEACHERS: Matleena Muhonen (Responsible teacher), Olli Varis. PARTNERS: Aalto LAB Mexico, Communities
MORE INFO: Official Transcription: MyCourses, Photographs: CS Flickr
In the Sustainable Global Technologies studio [SGT] course 2017, five multidisciplinary student groups conducted 2 weeks of field work in selected locations to understand the local challenges and opportunities of each case study. One of the groups travelled to Athens to work with refugees, another to Tanzania to solve sanitary problems through circular economy, and three groups to Mexico to work with communities on water issues, health and sustainable tourism. Each group created a blog about their project, which can be followed here.
The final show included discussions about the learning journey, as well as presenting the results of the projects. It was extremely interesting to hear about students’ field work experiences. For many students, it formed the first opportunity to work with a community while living in the community. Practical skills, from learning how to sleep in a hammock to how to organize a project in another country, were developed and trained. The course also helped students develop skills and understanding on how to connect and communicate with a community. As one of the students described, a “course like this is very useful to get rid of stereotypes”.
“You deal with real people, you have to consider what they say”
According to CS students, one of the most important aspects of SGT is that it is about real-life projects with real people. While some other courses provide an opportunity to work with companies, decision-makers and other organized stakeholders, in SGT the work is carried out at the grassroots level, which enables a genuine bottom-up approach. The students also valued the multidisciplinarity of the teams. Finding common understanding and working methods took a while, but the skills from other CS courses, such as Sustainable Product and Service Design, Systems Thinking and Creative Teamwork, prepared the students for work in a multidisciplinary team. Especially design thinking was considered an important skill both for conducting multidisciplinary work and the projects. This describes well the multidisciplinary approach of the Creative Sustainability programme, because there were no designers in the group that brought up the importance of design thinking!
The LIFT Project: Athens Focus on young asylum seekers and refugees in Greece
Upward Spiral Tanzania Developing sustainable sanitation in Dar es Salaam
Aalto LAB Mexico: El 20 de Noviembre Water quality testing – material footprint – artisans
Aalto LAB Mexico: Uxuxubí Community-led ecotourism; redefining tourism for the conscious consumer
Aalto LAB Mexico: San Pancho Supporting the local community to address development issues caused by growing tourism