Mariana Amatullo_ Interview at Impact Design Hub

Mariana Amatullo_ Interview at Impact Design Hub

with a sense of new mastery comes the realization that a boundless set of possibilities open up…and you do wish to do your best to honor that promise.


I recently saw this brilliantly insightful interview of Mariana Amatullo on Impact Design Hub. Mariana Amatullo speaks of designing for social change and impact and imparting on young designers the skills needed to do this.

Marian Amatullo is a writer, educator, speaker and student of design and social impact. She is Vice President and co-founder of the Design Matters department at At Center College of Art and Design. Her practice focuses on the intersection of design and social innovation.

Some excerpts from the interview

Mariana on the effect of social impact design projects failing

In the design for international development arena for example, we can point to a number of “shiny objects” and programs designed with all the best intentions that have failed; they do leave an open wound for all of us. For me they stand out as a reminder of why it is a good idea to not be timid or apologetic, but informed and thoughtful in this space.

On the Safe Agua Initiative a project where students travel to low-income communities in Latin america and co-create to design innovative technical solutions that aim to over come some of the social issues that come from water poverty.

The initiative has resulted in award-winning products and incubated student-led social enterprises, which has been remarkable. But it has also pushed us to experiment with different frameworks for collaboration, field research and participatory design methods that have been quite influential across the board in our undergraduate curriculum.  

Her thoughts on 5 things we know about working in the world of social innovation

1. Interdisciplinary collaboration is the name of the game.

2. The ability to learn from mistakes matters.

3. This is not work for the faint of heart.

4. Social innovation work can surprise you—for how addictive it is.

5. (And my all-time favorite): The sky’s the limit!

Mariana’s 5 things we have yet to know about the working world in social innovation

1. Design for scale.

2. Deal with the importance of measurement and evaluation.

3. Keep designers involved in the implementation of the social innovation.

4. Open up more entry points and design pipelines for the next generation of designers to contribute.

5. Overcome resource constraints and pay designers (handsomely) for this work.

Check out the rest of the interview on Impact Design Hub’s blog

Richard Mosse } Making seen the unseen

Richard Mosse } Making seen the unseen

A friend if mine has a photograph of Richard Mosse which i’ve been admiring for ages. I’s a haunting photograph of a soldier, standing in a pink field. Taken from his film ‘Enclave” which I really want to see.
His work is stunning. He turns the dark subject matter of war into something beautiful and haunting. Richard uses an infrared camera, a Kodak Aerochrome, to film the scenes creates this psychedelic imagery. In this talk at the Portland Art Museum he describes how the camera has the ability to see the unseen. It is interesting that his use of the camera began when he was frustrated with his work and wanted to push himself out of his comfort zone.
Enclave is a documentary that documents the war in Congo, which barely makes the news. The infrared camera reveals the unseen and Richard speaks about how he wanted to reveal the unseen. Communicate the war. He casts the war in a new light forcing us to change our perception, or pre conceptions of the conflict. The pink almost seems to make you think of blood. It’s a very powerful way of telling a story, by making it beautiful. It brings back the humanity to what is a really dark subject.
“”Of primal importance to me is beauty. Beauty is one of the main lines to make people feel something…. if you make something that’s derived from human suffering or war… if you represent it as beautiful it creates an ethical problem in the viewers mind, they get confused and angry and disorientated. Which is great because you get them to think about the act of perception and how this imagery is produced and consumed…. make visible whats beyond the limits of language”
This is a fascinating video where Richard Mosse talks about how he went about filming the documentary.

Richard Mosse: The Impossible Image from Frieze on Vimeo.