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I run an environmentally grounded practice, developing projects using design methodologies that are rooted in an acute awareness of physical location, place and working practices. The populated environment is of key importance to me and through my practice and projects I aim to bring people together, creating social and creative engagement and collaboration in an open-ended design process.

My early education was in making, I developed a curiosity about how things are made and how making is a form of thinking. My ongoing concerns are process-based, which means that often, if there is an outcome, it is an event rather than a product, a resting point rather than an end point. My understanding of ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ is fundamental to how I work and see the world and in my view there is a clear differentiation between understanding things and objects, how they may act as metaphorical devices and the wanton proliferation of products.

I often work in interdisciplinary environments and am currently working with various designers and artists on projects, including a DJ, textile artists, scientists, fine artists, choreographers, a performance artist, furniture designer and silversmith.

Since 2007 I have run the project ‘Making a Slow Revolution’ which aims to provide a forum for open discussion around the contribution of contemporary making and design to some of the philosophies presented within the Slow Movement. With particular development in thinking about place, provenance, co-design, relational methodologies, collaboration, gestational and layered time of processes, waste streams and walking, upcycling, mutability of life cycle and dialogue and conversation. I have travelled extensively to talk about the project and to contribute to developing thinking around it.

I have developed my own philosophies for thinking about these things through walking, talking and making by using an understanding/awareness of place through tracing the histories of making, industries past and present of a particular place and by collecting the detritus of place, something akin to an ethnographic study may be considered.

These are some of the projects that I am working on this year…

Slow Summit July 2011, London: A culmination of some of the Slow Revolution project with outcome of published book, a collaboration with Rebecca Earley.

Intelligent Trouble An exchange and collaboration between a shifting group of makers, designers, musicians and writers.

Story Lines A book of stories without objects with essays by Dr Linda Sandino, Laura Potter and Intelligent Trouble. Publish date May 2011

Sint Lucas, Antwerp: ‘Marking Place

Gift An Exchange with DJ and Curator David Littler

Walking/Taking/Making An ongoing collaboration with Russell Martin and Paul Harper

© Helen Carnac 2011

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