My name is Chris. For the last 2 years I've been moaning about the lack of access for experienced designers to professional development in New Zealand. By this, I mean the type of learning experience that helps them develop their own practice, process and philosophies and in turn, raises the level of design practice in New Zealand.
Is this because I think design in New Zealand is inferior to the rest of the world?
Put simply - No.
In fact, I think design here in New Zealand competes with the rest of the world in many ways and lots of people have heard me say as much. But I still think design needs to change and evolve. The challenges we face and the problems we are asked to tackle grow evermore complex. We need new approaches to engage with them successfully and we need to get better at wielding the tools we have.
There are many courses in New Zealand that cater for introductions, 101s and tasters for the less experienced, but nothing for the more seasoned designer or war-torn veteran. It can be expensive and arduous to travel overseas to work with leading international practitioners and this can inhibit opportunities for personal development, growth and discovery. Workshops happen at conferences, but they often cater for the widest possible audience and are driven by the subject matter and conference speakers.
I want to create experiences in New Zealand that reduce the expense of travel and increase access to cutting edge thinking. I want to create experiences that are intimate, focused and give participants quality time with facilitators. Where informal learning occurs in the spaces between formal learning. Where friendships are created and bonds are forged. I want to create experiences that are driven by the needs of the community in NZ, and are valued by facilitators and participants.
Sometimes Workchops will be long. Sometimes they will be short. Sometimes facilitators will be from overseas. Sometimes they will be from New Zealand
I hope these experiences help us to orient New Zealand design practice in the world and recognise how good we actually are. That we are different and can be proud of what we do and what we have to offer. Maybe one day Workchops can act as a springboard to take New Zealand design and designers out to the world (Thanks for inspiring that thought Nick Bowmast).
Most of all I want to push design practice.
At this moment I don't know what this looks like. I hope you will join me to find out.