Cultural Immersion And The Design Process
Leslie Speer, Associate Professor, CCA, Director, Bolton Associates
“When you study molecules you don’t have to worry about what the world
“means” to the molecules. But when you try to understand the reality of a human
being, it’s a different matter entirely.”
Does is not seem strange that issues of culture, diversity, and creativity are taught in a
windowless room with a whiteboard and a projector? It has always seemed strange to listen to
other professors talk about how they are teaching their students about a certain culture by
showing pictures, listening to music, discussing history, or, better yet, by empathically ‘becoming’
a part of a culture by engaging in activities or rituals that are common to the culture being studied.
However, all of this is done in an urban setting, far removed from the culture being studied, and
usually does not incorporate any of the people that are part of the studied culture.