Distributed Capabilities: Towards hybrid ways of making in collaborative arts/design practices

George Jaramillo, Lynne J. Mennie, Zöe Prosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contemporary arts and design practitioners are mobile, diverse and interdisciplinary; they expect to access information, skills and knowledge through multiple platforms—digital and analogue. Often operating as micro-businesses or solo practitioners, they are competing more and more with larger commercial/industrial enterprises across the same media platforms for the same target market (RSA 2015). Early adoption of novel techniques and cooperative approaches to design and creation is needed, whether between groups of designer-creators or co-creating designs with end consumers. These techniques are expected to develop further in the next few years and mechanisms are required that support these new interactions with sources of design inspiration between designer-creators and with users.

This ongoing practice-based research explores the developing co-creative relationships that arise through integrating digital making and data-driven processes as inspiration with collaborative distributed networks of design and practice. The authors developed an analogue/digital transformation process for sound-inspired pattern creation to promote alternative environmental attunement to place and landscape. This process was initially explored in the context of textile pattern design with a cohort of practitioners geographically distributed across Scotland, and, in this project, expanded out across other craft/design disciplines. It uses the robust multi-sensory process to enhance collaborative experimentation, skills-sharing, whilst working within a variety of collaborative digital/analogue platforms.

Cross-disciplinary explorations are occurring through the consolidation of a cohort of Scottish textile designer/makers into conversation and practice with a collective of non-textile practitioners. This new distributive collective explores the dissemination of practices across disciplines using the multi-sensory process as a point of reference. This includes enabling and strengthening collaborative attitudes between and across different practices along distributed geographic means. Furthermore, it questions existing ways of making and collaborating using digital/analogue avenues that augment, but do not replace, the influence and expertise of the practitioner on the design and creation process. Thus, it promotes new hybrid ways of making and working within a contemporary context, encouraging conversations between practitioners from different disciplines. Through these different lines of work, we explore what it means to be a practitioner in twenty-first century Scotland and beyond, challenging the arts/crafts and craft/design divide through collaborative interdisciplinary participation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaking Futures Journal
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2021


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