design futures archaeology deconstructs the manifesto

I’ve been wanting to say something about the Design Futures Archaeology blog, and what its author has been doing, but I’ve found it sort of intimidating :-). For the past few months, Derek Nicoll has been deconstructing the manifesto, one aphorism at a time. Each post is a meditation that uses the manifesto as a jumping off point, but ventures far and wide. He blends theory and observation with accounts of his own varied and extensive experiences, and the result is a cornucopia – dense and fascinating.

There are some themes coming through – in particular, I’ve noticed an insistence on the value of the face-to-face, and on the limits of the distance-mediated, digitally-mediated. Of course (as Derek also notes) we’re no longer usually talking about anything being one or the other – that’s something that is emerging from the ubiquity of our networked devices. As Enriquez reminds us: “mobility … dissolves the boundary between here and there, departure and return, dwelling and travelling” (2011, p.49). But anyway, the limits of particular kinds of mediations seem to be important in these posts, and I get that, especially when questions of power arise:

How does technology, and those who design, own and have power over it, make this a prepared environment for us to work within, live and socialize within and learn within? These are key questions defining who and what you can access, as the idea of when and where you can access disappears with sci-fi, wi-fi and wide-fi.


It would be impossible to summarise even one of Derek’s posts – but I encourage you to check some of them out next time you need a strange, enriching romp.



Enriquez, J. (2011). Tug‐o‐where: situating mobilities of learning (t)here. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(1), pp. 39-53.


2 thoughts on “design futures archaeology deconstructs the manifesto”

  1. Oh my god… intimidating is not the intention Jen, you do me proud in this account. The whole thing is supposed to be a roundabout way, rather than an out and out verbose way, of saying we need more ‘probes’ to make us think and respond. I’d rather have a ‘probe’ than a ‘like’. I have learned to be a great fan of inductive forms of teaching, and the nodes and probes you guys offered up just beg response [beyond the trite banalities like “nice manifesto” “keep it up”and “what you say rings some truth” “ur lookin’ good” etc. etc]. This is merely my effort, I will survey with interest to see if anybody else likes to be pronged!

    Just a short word on the process I have adopted. I tried to write one every day in the beginning knowing that would still take a bit of time. I am on a kind of sabbatical just now and have the luxury of writing. then one day my notebook packed in and had to be sent off. I started to dwell more deeply then. when my notebook came back after some 3 weeks!!! That was literally a spanner in the works. I had been writing off the remaining aphorisms on my reserve laptop in my house. They kind of go on and have managed to get stuck with the book I was writing on global education. I am currently trying to unstick them and get back to what I was supposed to be doing, a kind of Piagetian observation of my 7 year old and his online-based home-schooling.

  2. “I’d rather have a ‘probe’ than a ‘like’.” Well put, Derek – I love this! Thanks again for the rich responses to the manifesto.

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