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About Journeys in Design

Journeys in Design is a series of initiatives exploring where Design meets well-being and sustainable futures, engaging local communities, reaching out internationally, setting Scotland’s Design talent in context.

Journeys in Design follows two intersecting pathways:

Making Well explores where mindful design meets well-being for individuals and communities, drawing on the power of creative thinking and doing and a wealth of related talent in Scotland.

Inaugurated in 2014, this pathway includes our Walks by Design, Workshops, Creative Encounters and our Twilight Talks about Design, the longest running independent series of dedicated design talks in Scotland.

Material World platforms contemporary Scottish Design in context, drawing on Scotland's rich trading heritage, record of industrial and material innovation and efforts to create a zero waste and circular economy.
Inaugurated in 2017 with Our Linen Stories, we focus on a different material with each iteration, including Seaweed in Salvage Scotland and Concrete Designs to Thrive, commencing 2021.

“I hope our Journeys in Design contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities alike, as we share the creative energy of those we meet en route.” Dr John Ennis Curator

Our Team

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Dr John Ennis
Founder,
Curator 
& Producer

Abid Nazir
Accounts, Admin

& Photography

The Journey so far

 

Reflecting on recent collaborative discussions, curator producer John Ennis sets down some thinking ahead of the latest of our Journeys in Design. The following piece sets out John’s background experience and motivation then goes on to discuss the aims and objectives of Journeys in Design.

Once a doctor…

 

In brief, I was a family doctor, medical teacher, and primary care researcher, graduating from University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1990 and working in clinical general practice until 2012; I had additional research and development commitments in the fields of Health Services for Young People in Care, Palliative Care at Home and International Collaboration for Undergraduate Medical Education.

 

It doesn’t take long working as a GP in Scotland to understand who is more vulnerable in our communities and in need of greater advocacy and support. Inequalities act against a fair shot at life for some. While providing and improving health services is important, the power dynamics are often not changed. In part, I was paddling hard but way downstream of the choppy waters at source, those social problems at the route of so much ill-health.

 

I stepped aside from medicine in 2012 to pursue a passion for design with the absolute belief that mindful design can enable greater well-being. Half my colleagues at the time said, ‘you’re bonkers’ and the others said ‘give it a go’!

 

While still a practising doctor, I had collaborated on design projects in Scotland and Ghana including curating at the annual Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh Exhibition and in establishing a sustainable design and build initiative in Ghana with architect Alero Oylmpio.

 

In 2000 I acquired and converted an old tire depot in central Edinburgh, supporting several emerging and established curators, artists, and makers there (including Doggerfisher gallery and PickOne textiles) Our in-house exhibitions explored contemporary design in the local and national context. Gayfield Creative Spaces closed in 2016 and the current journey builds on experience gained there.

Journeys in Design

 

My belief in the power of mindful design find focus through my initiative called Journeys in Design and by contributing to steering groups (Art in Health Care Scotland, Prescribe Culture University of Edinburgh) charitable trusteeship (Alero Olympio Trust) and board membership (Fife Employment Access Trust at Silverburn Park).

 

Journeys in Design seeks to enable well-being through Design, engaging people at a local level with our walks and workshops and at the national and international level with our exhibitions and talks.

 

Internationalism

 

All of us stand taller in the world when we reach out to countries and cultures other than our own. Scotland’s contribution to the world of design continues to be significant on the global stage. Our Exhibitions and Talks give context to home-grown talent and celebrate creatives from outside Scotland who find work here.

 

Well-being

 

Well-being in its broadest sense includes health, opportunity, agency, locality, sustainability, and regeneration. The World Health Organisation recognises this in a definition of health that includes realms of the physical, emotional, and spiritual. In Scotland we have led in gathering evidence of reduced health inequalities when people have agency to link into their localities with purpose. This is one important method by which mindful design can enable healthy ways of being in the world.

 

Global thinking

 

Fundamentally, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves, each a small part of a big planet, each an important element in a greater, greener ecosystem.

 

To draw a simple medical analogy, if we sprain an ankle and limp, our pelvis tilts and we develop a sore back. In the same way, problems for one part of the planet will lead to problems for another: it is all connected.

 

There is therefore a need to advocate for Planet Earth as much as we do for ourselves. This is especially true when any one part of the planet is particularly threatened, as true for our vulnerable neighbours as for our oceans, air, and soil. The United Nations recognises this with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rolling programmes

 

These beliefs and motivations secure the values underpinning Journeys in Design and help give a steer to our programmes, events, and special projects.

 

Our rolling programmes each focus on a different material to venture across art, design, and industry, engaging local communities through an exploration of heritage, sustainability, and contemporary practice.

“It is a privilege to co-design our programmes in a country of such impressive creative talent, producing our events in diverse locations across Scotland and beyond.” Dr John Ennis Curator

Design Library

Online search engines are fine but nothing beats a good book! Our research, development and practice has been enhanced by a dip into many papers, journals and books. We include our favourites here grateful for the expertise of others and delighted to pass this on to those with a shared passion.

Concrete

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'Watch where you are...' - The Enduring Town Art of Glenrothes

Author

Jeremy Howard; Andrew Demetrius

Publisher

University of St Andrews Library - St Andrews

Date

2018

ISBN

978-0901728333

Concrete

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The Secret Lives of Buildings

Author

Edward Hollis

Publisher

Portobello Books Ltd

Date

2010 (2019)

ISBN

978-1846271281

Concrete

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Scotstyle - 100 Years of Scottish Architecture (1916-2015)

Author

Ed. Neil Baxter; Ed. Fiona Sinclair

Publisher

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland - Edinburgh

Date

2016

ISBN

978-1873190715

Concrete

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Scotland's Sporting Buildings

Author

Nick Haynes

Publisher

Historic Scotland - Edinburgh

Date

2014

ISBN

978-1849171502

Concrete

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Renzo Piano - The Art of Making Buildings

Author

texts by Kate Goodwin; John Tusa; Richard Rogers; Fulvio Irace; Lorenzo Ciccarelli; Susumu Shingu; Paul Winkler; Alistair Guthrie; Eric Kandel; Luis Fernández-Galiano; Roberto Benigni

Publisher

Royal Academy for Arts - London

Date

2018

ISBN

978-1910350713

Concrete

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Raw Concrete - The Beauty of Brutalism

Author

Barnabas Calder

Publisher

William Heinemann - London

Date

2016

ISBN

978-0434022441

Concrete

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Living with Buildings: And Walking with Ghosts - On Health and Architecture

Author

Iain Sinclair

Publisher

Profile Books Ltd - London; Wellcome Collection - London

Date

2018

ISBN

978-1788160469

Concrete

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How to love Brutalism

Author

John Grindrod

Publisher

Batsford - London

Date

2018

ISBN

978-1849944427

Concrete

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Estates - An Intimate History

Author

Lynsey Hanley

Publisher

Granta Publications - London

Date

2017 (2007)

ISBN

978-1783783823

Concrete

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Concretopia - A Journey around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain

Author

John Grindrod

Publisher

Old Street Publishing Ltd - London

Date

2013

ISBN

978-1906964900

Concrete

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Concrete Chicago Map

Author

Iker Gil

Publisher

Blue Crow Media

Date

2018

ISBN

978-1912018635

Concrete

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Architecrture in Global Socialism - Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War

Author

Łukasz Stanek

Publisher

Princeton University Press - Princeton and Oxford

Date

2020

ISBN

978-0691168708

Concrete

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A Living Room for the City

Author

Ed. Sophie McKinlay

Publisher

V&A Publishing

Date

2018

ISBN

978-1851779239

Concrete

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CONCRETE

Author

Ed. William Hall

Publisher

Phaidon Press Limited

Date

2019 (2012)

ISBN

978-0714875156

Chasing Rainbows

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A Way of Being Free

Author

Ben Okri

Publisher

Head of Zeus Ltd - London

Date

2015

ISBN

978-1784082567

Linen

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Award Winning British Design 1957-1988

Author

Lily Crowther

Publisher

V&A Publishing - London

Date

2012

ISBN

978-1851776733

Linen

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50 Years Textielmuseum 1958 - 2008

Author

Annemiek van der Veen; Gert Staal

Publisher

Audax Textielmuseum - Tilburg

Date

2008

ISBN

978-9070962418

Linen

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100 Sustainable Scottish Buildings

Author

Richard Atkins; Emily Stephen

Publisher

Scottish Ecological Design Association - Glasgow

Date

2017

ISBN

978-0993054457