The students of the First Year Studies attend the Integrative Seminar II, a course that links the Integrative Studio II; with a focus on reading, thinking and making. It is through this link that students are able to understand cross disciplinary skill and creative problem-solving. The goal of the course pairing, between the Studio and the Seminar, is to emphasize making as thinking in both writing and studio contexts. In order to maintain a connection between the Seminar and Studio, instructors will work with a rule set that both helps guide the activity in the course, and the way that instructors will interact with each other outside of class.
The Integrative Seminar II draws on the students existing knowledge to begin an enquiry into the notions of city, space, travel, histories and narratives – can we reorder our understanding of the city-space through an exploration of our imagination and memory. We begin to question and experiment with the powerful structures such as empires, governments, languages, lands but above all the random patterns within imagined cities. This semester the students work with a close reading of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, a text that is often said to be a “reordering of the emotional and philosophical reverberations of our civilised world.”
Through a close reading of the text, the students of this course are required to respond to the narrative, unpacking its complexities: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. It is through this exploration that we hope to achieve a deeper understanding of the idea of academic study, research and writing methodologies. These sessions also encourages students to ‘point at’ the relevant – where they are able to break down a text to its bare bones. This we feel will encourage students to encounter and interact with design in a way that allows them to analyze, critic and understand design and design processes.
The second half of the semester is dedicated to an exploration of the student’s area of interest that will become their focus in the next three years. Entitled ‘Parts of a Whole’, this project hopes to lead students to a deep enquiry into their disciplines, where they look at the elements that make the whole. These sessions require students to draw on their knowledge of writing methodologies in the First Semester and hone their skills, make sharper comments, sustained arguments and a develop a deeper insight into the ideas of design and design theory. These lecture series hope to draw students into a deeper enquiry into the theory of design – supported by readings and essays, the students begin to grapple with the ideas of design and design thinking. ‘Parts of a Whole’ emphasizes the need for research, writing, documentation and presentation skills.