to Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Local Context
Özlem Er, Department of Industrial Product Design, Istanbul Technical University
Georg-Christof Bertsch, Bertsch Brand Consultants, Frankfurt, Germany
A fundamental feature of international or cross-cultural workshops is the drive for learning about the others. In such workshops, being a tutor or student does not matter as all workshop participants share the same curiosity to find out about different life experiences.
Such a workshop was undertaken in fall 2006 at the Department of Industrial Product Design, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) with the participation of the tutors and the students of the third-year Product Design Studio class (43 students in total). The workshop, “Private Water,” was among a series of activities planned under an international project initiated by Georg-Christof Bertsch, a design consultant and educator from Germany. The project defined as “Reflecting Waters” involves activities in Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel; Peter Behrens School of Architecture, Düsseldorf, Germany; and Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey.
The workshop program started with an introductory lecture on the significance of water from the perspectives of different cultures and religions. This was followed by brief information on the Reflecting Waters project, its scope and content.
Following this lecture, Georg Bertsch started the workshop by explaining the procedure to be followed in the allocated period of time which was five work days. The first action was to form groups around two themes of the workshop which was defined as “in bath” and “mineral water.” Eight groups were formed to work on these two themes; four groups working on the first theme while the remaining four on the second one.