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Futures of Journalism: Truth, Power, and Media | DwD 02.14.18

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We invite participants committed to inquiring together into the Future(s) of Journalism for February DwD. The conversation is structured to elicit progressive proposals to the problematics of three focal questions:

  • How might we create insightful, enterprising, and investigative local journalism?
  • How might we create a more diverse, relevant, and trustworthy journalism?
  • Who holds the power and how can we distribute it evenly and democratize journalism so it can speak truth to power?

It took nearly two decades after the invention of motion camera for cinema to develop its own unique language, and understand the power of montage–the quality that fundamentally changed the function of cinema. In the past decade, the Web has dramatically transformed the media ecology, increasing access to all new media forms, expanding means of distribution, inventing new possibilities, but also disrupting many practices, including journalism. In this fundamental transformation of journalism the question that begs importance is: What will be the montage of journalism? What would give journalism its own language in this new media ecosystem?

In economy of scale, local news faces great financial adversity that really challenges its ability to do insightful investigative journalism. The gap between the interests of communities and the news is growing and the news media needs to find new ways to gain the trust of the communities it reports on–to be able to embrace a diversity that reflects that of different communities. Moreover, the concentration of ownership, the dominance of platform companies particularly Google and Facebook, as well as billionaires involvement in news ecosystem all point to alarming concerns over distribution of power. Therefore, we are investigating the social systems, media theories, and economics of journalism together as a pick-up community in a design action research context,


Facilitated with a modified dialogic design method, this workshop will aim to co-create a generative conversation on futures of journalism. In multidisciplinary teams of news media experts, journalists, systemic and service designers, and policy analysts, the participants will work together to generate and discuss ideas and possible innovations, and to compose structured narratives to codify and represent the idea proposals selected.

Please note that this workshop is part of Mazi’s major research project in the OCADU Strategic Foresight & Innovation Master’s and is designed around exploration of the above mentioned questions. Particpants will be asked to acknowledge informed consent for research engagement.

From this workshop you can expect to:

  • Gain a diverse perspective into different challenges that face Canadian journalism ecosystem
  • Explore emerging functions, business models, and interventions being developed in Journalism
  • Learn new methods and experience a modified approach to dialogic design

Join us if you are interested in exploring emerging future models and criteria for journalism. This workshop will be an interesting opportunity to explore innovative responses to different challenges facing news media.

NOTE: We urge you to register soon to confirm your attendance. The success of this workshop heavily relies on the balance of representation and we would like to ensure participation across the range of perspectives in the industry and discourse.

Register on Eventbrite

Wed February 14, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Lambert Lounge (187)

About the Presenter

Mazi Javidiani is a service designer, and media & technology researcher dedicated to untangling complexities. He is interested in the paradigm shifts in technology and their systemic behavioral, cultural, organizational, and societal effects.

Over the past few years, Mazi has designed complex services for different governments, user experiences for video games such as Jurassic Park™, taught UX design as an adjunct professor at MacEwan University, and worked as a design director in advertising and public relations. His interest in cybernetics and post-structural philosophy led him to Hexagram’s SenseLab, where he investigated autopoietic responsive architecture, and to the Topological Media Lab, where he researched phenomenological approaches to memory. As one of the founders of the Montreal-based art gallery, Studio Beluga, Mazi has programmed, curated, and designed several artist exhibitions and residencies.

Itch: A Dialogue in Noise

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January’s DwD hosted an interactive installation in OCAD’s main lobby, a space for encountering random and performed noise and meaning. Juxtaposed with the greatly-anticipated talks of Nick Cave and Ebony Patterson happening in the auditorium at the same time, our living installation offered a vibrant invitation to visitors in Toronto’s art community that were unable to snag a seat in the sold out event up the hall. Itch performed the entire time, as a dialogue in the exploration” of sound co-creation through four turntables and a stack of colour-coded LPs.

Noise musician and artist Mike Hansen presents a participatory arts engagement to these questions through anecdotal, observational and performative means.

“We encounter a cacophony through a hands-on approach to the cacophony’s manufacture through improvisation. Ear to Hand – Audience to Performer by participating in Itch, an installation/performance. Itch creates a context for inquiry, a hands-on sound work that invites participants to improvise as turntablists in conversation with each other.”

Performed in a quartet with an individual as a conductor, Itch meets the need (or desire) to interact as well as to create a spontaneous improvisational dialogue with the noise/sound/music, audience/musicians and environment.  The audience/performers become the DJs, demystifying the accepted DJ role. Itch opens the door to allow non-professionals to see, feel and fully experience the mechanics of improvisation and noisemaking in a musical context.









About the Presenter: Michael Hansen (Artist’s Statement)


My practice researches noise and it’s ever evolving meaning.

Noise can be defined as what it isn’t, generating a negative stereotype. I see noise as an invitation, not a disturbance. My continuing research of noise has reinforced my belief that noise is the genesis of all sound. What maybe noise at one time may not be noise today. A clear example is the electric guitar. When first invented it was heard as noise, today it is referred to as musical, an accepted instrument in the context of music making. The idea and definition of noise is ever changing and my works solidify that notion.

My works are sound-based, and  include participatory installations, (which also stand on their own), sculptures and installations, single and multiple channel video and/or objects that may include drawings, painting and photography.

Noise/sound plays the lead in my practice as both artist and musician. I believe noise to be a multi-faceted tool, through participants creating the noise or using time-based imagery that relates to noise as well as an object that reflect noise. The recontextualisation of noise is a relationship that is displayed via my works. Most of the works use images to amplify the meaning of the sound.

The eye weighs heavy in the visual arts but sound is the greatest affectual component in my work.


Grounding Practices that Enable Emergence in Dialogue

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Design and engagement practitioners have adopted mindfulness approaches to large group participation recently, that help participants move from “heady” intellectual interactions to more embodied states of presence and awareness. Perhaps the most well-known approach is that of Theory U (Presencing), which has been applied in a huge range of process contexts, including in the 2015 Unify Toronto series.

Stephen Sillett and Jenny Jimenez  present insights into the thinking behind how this work is informed by dialogic design practice in long term community development. They explored:

How can we quickly enable diverse groups of participants to gain trust in their engagement and go deeper? (Using approaches appropriate to the people, place and purpose.)

How might we facilitate participants to feel both free and grounded, through emergent embodiment?

What would help support each of us to risk approaching the Edge of what we know, or to enter into an unknown area of inquiry?


Stephen Sillett shared theory and practice behind the “Come to the Edge” performance they coordinated in Belgium last month. Jennifer shared how this approach relates to developments in the disability arts movement and the shifting relationship to time. This involves grounding practices, but also practices that help people become transport to other realities, and involves crossing different types of thresholds.

The DwD engaged approaches to enable free exploration and collective trust and comfort to be achieved through intentional process design. We will share situations where we (ADCID) have helped participants with complex disabilities who can feel burden with frustration at their situation, and resigned to a state of endurance. We have developed different approaches for these contexts, which have adaptations from actor training, and mental space psychology.

Working with pre-verbal approaches, and metaphorical representations of burdens, we found major impact on communities who use alternative and augmentative communication. These can be used in the design of other dialogic engagements, and also for activities seeking to use dialogue as part of participatory design methodologies.

Several exercises were used to open up participants to deeper engagement:

  • Chairs and Tables – exercise that uses a simple spectrogram followed by metaphorical objects which become psychoactive and which the group can bond as we unburden
  • Passing the energy – exercise that opens up individuals and establishes a group dynamic.
  • David Grove’s Clean Space – deeper engagement around an outcome


About the Presenters

Jennifer Jimenez has a background as a scenographer, theatre-maker, and arts educator. She seeks artistic projects rooted in devised collaborative processes where all elements can play an active role in creation. This can take the form of integrating lighting and design into the rehearsal and creation process, working with community members to create a performance piece or devising an audience interactive piece, where those present are actively involved in meaning making. She has participated in training workshops in collaborative creation with Ariane Mnouchkine’s Teatre Du Soleil, and in Image and Forum Theatre facilitation at the Centres for the Theatre of The Oppressed in London, Toronto, and New York. Jenny has a Masters in Devised Theatre Creation from Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK, and a BFA and BEd from York University.  She has taught drama and visual arts in the Ontario Secondary School system and in the UK.

Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett are co-directors of ADCID (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development), where they facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, they explore approaches that engage community members in conversations, consciously orientated to maturing visions of the future. Research interests include the facilitation of non-verbal and spatial meaning-making practices within group workshop and the creation of interactive performance. They direct the InFusion Labs process where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.


Decolonizing Futures through Storytelling

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OCAD SFI grad student Pupul Bisht presented the October DwD on exploring storytelling to decolonize foresight methods. Pupul’s research in OCADU’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation program critiques and redefines futures methods by inquiring into cross-cultural and indigenous futures thinking.

Pupul explores several questions in the workshop:

  • How might storytelling work as a tool for inclusion of non-western perspectives in foresight?
  • How might we make futures methodology pluralistic, and hence more inclusive?
  • Who owns images of the future? Can stories help reveal these power structures?
  • How do different cultural epistemologies of time & future affect the ability of a community to participate in the current foresight design process?
  • How do different cultures visualize progress?

Different cultures around the world have diverse future temporalities and distinct ways of thinking about the future. In the Confucian worldview the future can be in the future as well as the past, so can it be in the Hindu and Buddhist worlds. The concept of time in these cultures is such that one can view the future in or from the past. This cyclic concept of time is often not included in foresight explorations, as most tools and frameworks used by practitioners visualize time as a linear entity, expressed “horizontally.”

This Design with Dialogue workshop was part of Pupul’s major research project in the SFI program, and  designed around exploration of the above mentioned questions in multidisciplinary teams of experts in foresight, storytelling and non-western perspectives. Through this dialogic workshop we will try to identify underlying cultural values, worldviews and assumptions that shape the current methods and theories in futures discourse. We will conclude with a generative session where we will explore practical frameworks that could be used to make the discipline more inclusive.

From this workshop, you can expect to:

  • Gain a better understanding of the epistemological limitations of the current futures discourse
  • Explore scope for intervention in multidisciplinary teams
  • Learn new methods and expand your foresight vocabularies and toolkits

Join us if you are interested in exploring ways to open the foresight process to non-western ways of knowing, doing and being through storytelling. This workshop will be an interesting opportunity to co-create frameworks at the intersection of Foresight, Storytelling and Decolonization

About the Presenter

Pupul is an Indian designer with deep passion for exploring cultural plurality in contemporary design practices.  With a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design from National Institute of Design, India Pupul moved to Toronto last year to pursue her Master’s in the OCAD Strategic Foresight and Innovation program. She is conducting this workshop as part of her Major Research Project. Her thesis explores the intersection of cultural foresight, storytelling and epistemological pluralism.

With a belief that the stories we tell of our pasts shape our futures, Pupul wants to dedicate her multi-disciplinary creative practice to uncovering narratives of alternative histories and desirable futures that otherwise lie in mundane yet under-explored nooks of our everyday world. Through the tool of storytelling she hopes to move foresight outside organizational confines and engage in mass-dialogue about our collective futures as a civilization.

Worldbuilding: A Workshop on Shared Futuring

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The first of two foresight workshops presented by Strategic Foresight and Innovation students was held in September with Maheen Zaidi sharing a methodology being proposed for long-horizon transition design and collaborative scenario thinking. Her workshop engaged about 30 participants in exploring futures through worldbuilding and narrative visioning practices. She organized the session around three inquiries:

  • Can the resurgence of science fiction narratives help us create a better society and social systems?
  • How can worldbuilding help us in designing practices for community and large system transition?
  • Can we combine worldbuilding and foresight practices such as backcasting to better inform social system design?

Over the past few years, an ongoing battle for the future of science fiction has plagued the literary community, and the crux of the problem was this: the genre was undergoing social change to better reflect the world’s diverse values and voices, and not everyone agreed that it should. Not only was this conflict a missed signal for the resurgence of social populism (and the Trump presidency), it raised concerns about who and what is informing society’s visions of the future, and what the implications of those visions are.

Though we can find science fiction at the root of most (if not all) of our technological accomplishments, it does not inspire society to adopt the moral and ethical lessons it imparts. As a result, we’re captivated by Orwell’s telescreens and Crichton’s Jurassic Park, but fail to act upon their warnings about mass surveillance or unchecked entrepreneurship. So where is the disconnect? Why is science fiction not leading the charge on informing transition and systemic design?

This Design with Dialogue workshop will introduce a model that tests if science fiction narratives and practices can help build better systems. The workshop will include an exercise that examines the fictional worlds in stories such as 1984 and Brave New World. We’ll also use the model to imagine a new society with more sustainable systems that are designed with a civilizational timescale in mind.








About the Host

Maheen Zaidi

Maheen is co-founder of The Innovation Shop, a design consultancy in Toronto. She specializes in strategic foresight, transition design, and narrative design. She is completing a Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University, and has an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from York University. Her thesis explores the intersection of civilizational foresight, transition design, and science fiction.

A staunch believer that language is a critical medium of design and that foresight should be ambient, Maheen is a science fiction writer. In her previous life, she was a marketing executive who worked with multi-nationals, startups, and scale-ups to build brand equity.