Today is my last day as Program Director. So I went out and bought a hat. And am now feeling a bit dressy – and flamboyant. Its black – but feelings are in the heart, or head actually.

I will pull out my ear rings. I am permitted to let my true nature come out. Its been three years of ‘eyes on me’ and a sense of being the last to come into the party, and all eyes are on you. The eyes have closed. The lights have gone out. I can indulge.

My first indulgence will be friendships. I will get gushy, will I(?), and speak my heart. I fear not, as I said to Michael Howard, the travelling word carrying tales of power alignments. I still may not let my dislikes show – that would have to await rebirth, and cant come through with just relinquishing of roles.

I agreed to do another three years, and a month into the second term I was sure it was wrong. All wrong … would I have continued the Campus Recycling project (CRP) beyond the ‘proof of concept’? No I wouldn’t. I had to withdraw and close the project so that the 30 workers could consider the next step – that of commercialisng their expertise. The project was thus an incubator. The role at RMIT similarly was a project – and the very project-ness of the role required that I step back and let the ‘sustianbility’ stage of the project start. In the CRP that was the first commercial contracts, the first fights, and for quite a while the lure of the ‘bribe’ (give me a cut and I will give you the contract). In the Rickshaws case that was the setting up the manufacturers and the ‘handholding’ till the orders starting flowing with regularity, and the manufacturing capaability was fine tuned. So it is still work, and still a commitment to the project – building the program.

I have work to do – independent of the administrative side to university work – and this has started with a resounding show of comaraderie. We are all doing joint papers. And are well on the path to seeing cooperative grant application dveelopment.

Stepping down is also a steping into a new phase.

India Readings

Reading India.

1. William Dalrymple: The city of Djinns and /or White Mughals
2. Gregory David Roberts: Shantaram
3. Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies
4. Arundhati Roy: The God of Small Things
5. Salman Rushdie: Midnights Children
6. Naipaul: India – a wounded civilization
7. Amitav Ghosh- the Hungry Tide

The waste meter

•    Measures the liquid waste leaving properties.
•    The property can be charged for the size of their ecological footprint, which equals the amount of pollution the property puts out.

The provocation: Suppose we cut off the sewage pipe!

What would happen – If Houses were:

To be prohibited from send away their liquid waste?
Stopped from using a pipe leaving the property carrying away waste with water as the medium?
To have their sewage outflow sealed off?

Changes in Bahaviour
Houses would have to become more responsible when they brought water into the property.
They may need to keep water circling in their properties.

Need – Why?
1.    To push for responsible water use.
2.    To create drivers for grey water recycling products.
3.    To reduce usage of toxic chemicals for washing.
4.    To limit use of acids and chlorine in homes.
5.    To change products and industry ( supermarkets and suppliers).
6.    Promote use of eco and bio friendly products.


On the making of design entrepreneurs: Explorations in the design classroom

Authors: Denis Smitka, Liam Fennessy, & Soumitri Varadarajan, RMIT University

Keywords: Entrepreneur, Design Entrepreneur, Business incubators, Business opportunity, Bootstrap funding


The design entrepreneur as agency has a long history in Melbourne and has emerged in recent times as – a viable construct in defining an urban design professional. Such a construct sees designers as closely involved with/ in complete control of every aspect of the production of their goods and on occasions, particularly in low-tech and low-investment industries such as furniture, homewares and craft objects, they were the producer. Design education/ curriculum that privileges this – focussing upon supporting these goals .. addresses issues of enterpreneurship – Innovative thinking is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Whether you actually invent a new product or process, or you use creativity to find a better way to market existing products or services, you will need to learn how to think like an inventor. This simulation is designed to involve all participants in the Entrepreneurship program in the activities of setting up a business. For sometime now the Industrial Design Program at RMIT has developed a pathway focused on design entrepreneurship. enterprise activities in schools can provide the means by which young people gain an awareness of the opportunities available to them throughout their working lives and develop the skills and confidence that can help them to start up in business – The paper describes a program that educates students to become free agents – entrepreneurs – Designer-maker

Fires in Victoria

All day its been smokey in Melbourne.

Images from earth observatory.

Bush Fires Photos. 

Constructing Communities

Maybe I would have encouraged you to think that this as a project because I have seen the document as a three year project. While this is a three year research project this is not actually a project. Because we don’t know what the goals are. We don’t know where we are going and we don’t know what the end results are.

But the other way to look at it is the fact that we have to create, that I have a goal to move this program over the next three years. There is a lot of time to make it into a world class program. Which for me is defined purely as something that is a terrifyingly stimulating place. This place where student and staff genuinely taste freedom. Freedom in the way it was articulated in 1968, freedom in the way it was articulated prior to the French Revolution. Whatever notion of freedom you are talking about but freedom to essentially give yourself the confidence or the intellectual arrogance to construct theories or construct design or construct objects. That’s my goal.

I want to create this completely utopian society which can never be created but in the process of doing that I can come up with something that actually mirrors a certain kind of community. A community that is not afraid of anything. A completely unafraid community. There is a parallel to this.

When I did my Waste project I had 24 workers with me. They were people I picked off the streets. They were daily wage labourers. Many of them were drug users and they were manual labours. A lot of them were uneducated. One or two were educated. Most had no education, no background, no skills. I put them in this program and over the three years created an organization. The organization was called a new morning or a new dawn (Naya Savera). There was a new morning, a new dawn. Then I hired a social worker, a lady who worked with communities and asked her to come and talk to these workers and she spent a whole year talking to them, and almost every other day she would come in and sit where they were working and talk to them. And in the process of dialogue they finally said ‘okay, we trust you’.
I said I can assure you one thing. Not a lot of money but I can assure you that you can move from being a daily wage worker where some day you will get work and someday you wont get work, to somebody who will get work everyday. And I will construct an organization which will be a community based organization which will have 24 of these people as members – so it is their cooperative. Which is what we did. We set up a cooperative and told them how to work with a cooperative.

And in this process you can take anybody to any point to bring them to a position where they look after their own interest and work together to look after the general interest. Don’t hurt anybody. What we had with the situation at RMIT before my coming where everybody was hurting everybody. And then you sort of isolate yourself. You don’t want to be hurt anymore so you wall yourself in. And the whole thing then festers and festers and it comes to a point where it is not very good.

On Dialogue

It’s a facilitator. What does that mean?

To be part of a community consulting process. I acknowledged the staff, then I acknowledged the sessionals and two weeks ago I acknowledge the students by telling them all that they were very important members of this community and that every action that the community took would be through the process of consultation. A thing to learn to object or contribute ideas.

I am encouraging a dialogue. I am in the process of encouraging a dialogue and discovering that there exists possibly old practices where there never has been a dialogue, where teachers, students, sessionals, admin staff are all separate individuals, independent isolated pockets. So if you try to analyse that beforehand you try to see that there is a dialogue and then you learn through the feedback of the engine of whatever there was before but by this time you have started the process of moving towards a new kind of life describing a new reality – everybody’s desires can get mapped. Desires. So if we have a link that sort of has something that illustrates that the outcome is common. So if there is mutual links it becomes part of a bigger intervention. Does this makes sense?