Ugly as a concept in craft to examine alternative futures

Ana Anna-Liisa Nuutinen, Riikka Räisänen, Päivi Fernström

Tutkimustuotokset: Kirjoitus lehdessä tai erikoisnumeron toimittaminenArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

2 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


Futures studies argue that the future cannot be predicted, but rather alternative futures can be explored and preferred futures can be imagined. Furthermore, our images of the futures can be a resource that informs our decision making. Understanding and imagining futures needs transdisciplinary inquiry; it calls for creativeness and freedom from prejudice.

In this study, we present a design experiment accomplished in the textile teacher education at the University of Helsinki. Our aim was to explore and strengthen the skills that students will need in their future work.

Expression, design and technology are characterized by open-ended and complex design problems. When solving them, a student internalizes that there are no right or wrong solutions to problems, that the path of the design process cannot be precisely defined in advance, and that the same starting point can produce different solutions.

This experiment familiarized students with the interrelation between materials and the techniques for their manipulation, and guides the students to understanding the opportunities provided by manual experimentation, spontaneous invention and discovery. Carrying out these experiments entails the free, unusual or absurd manipulation of the materials. Ugly was especially selected as the viewpoint to discuss possible new futures.

Data were collected from students’ portfolios and analysed using qualitative content analysis. The study shows that making something intentionally ugly raises emotional debate. Ugly was understood and defined in numerous ways. Ugly experiments impacted on motivation to invent and discover by empowering or encouraging, for example. A matrix was formed to summarize the findings of the study.

Key words: craft, design, anticipation, experiental foresight, alternative futures, empower 
JulkaisuEuropean Journal of Futures Research
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2017
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli


  • craft, design, ugly, experiment, empower


  • Muut humanistiset tieteet

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