MATERIAL PRODUCT RELATIONS EXPLORED THROUGH EVERYDAY STUDENT BEHAVIOUR
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Green, Clare Ruth
Institution: 1: ISD Rubika, Valenciennes, France; 2: EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), Paris, France
Section: Design and Engineering Education Practices
Longer product lifetimes  are one of many strategies explored for more environmentally relevant design, and can as such be included in the product design curriculum at university level. A wider but less well defined theme which underpins longer product lifetimes is the question of (human) relationships to things as physical material. How much do things matter and how much does matter really matter to humans? Design and design education address both physical and virtual relationships of humans with their environment. In the context of environmental imperatives that encourage a logical shift of emphasis to the latter of these two relationships, questioning the former is increasingly important, even if this might appear counter-intuitive.
This paper presents and compares simple and complimentary exercises tested in different forms during teaching modules looking at the longevity of material product relations. The aim being to sensitise students to different facets of material relationships starting with their own. These exercises appear to be an effective support for generating group discussion on longer product relations and for encouraging the expression of individual diversity to the peer group. While we do not aim to present here a definitive model, the cumulated experience of these exercises gives an opportunity for highlighting a number of key themes, observations and opportunities.