Just the other week I went to a fascinating seminar which was run as part of the Social Innovator Dialogues. The topic was ‘designing innovation’ and was delivered by Enzio Manzini, Professor of Design at the Politecnico di Milano, Honorary Doctor at The New School of New YorkÂ (2006) and at the Goldsmiths College of London (2008) and honorary professor at the Glasgow School of Art (2009).
Manzini was talking about how we can develop sustainable communities, his key phrase was small, local, open, connected. The audio from this event can be downloaded from the Royal Institute of Australia (RiAus) website.*
The key concept is that to exist in a sustainable way, we need to develop smaller communities who can feed themselves and be more self contained, but we need to be open and inclusive and be connected to larger systems. We need to invest more in distributed systems. Systems for generating energy for our communities, using renewable sources. By being connected, we can generate what we need, but also supply back to the grid. There are many other ways in which the theory of distributed systems can be applied to current unsustainable practices.
Passion and a dreams are important things to have. I’m not going to let go of my dream of being a consultant and an advocate of sustainable libraries. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working hard to increase my network of contacts within South Australia and further afield. I’ve attended several workshops, presented at a conference and met some wonderful people.
The week before last I attended the Students of Sustainability Conference at Flinders University and attended a variety of sessions, on topics ranging from permaculture, the sharehood, development economics and gardening opportunities in urban environments presented by Harry Harrison from the Rare Fruit Society of South Australia.
As part of the conference I presented a session called Green Libraries.
The aims of the session were to:
- introduce the green library movement
- highlight the capacity of public libraries to promote sustainability
- motivate attendees to communicate the need for sustainability awareness programs to their local public library
- foster linkages between sustainability organisations and public libraries
Due to the fact that the University of South Australia was unable to find any suitable replacement supervisors for my research project, I am now in the process of withdrawing from the program at UniSA, which is frustrating to say the least. There are many more words that I would like to use, but I’m a professional, so I’m managing my anger in other ways.
I’m in the process of looking into programs for next year, and spending this year on settling back into Adelaide, earning some money and working on my research profile. I’ve spoken to Professor Suzanne Benn at Macquarie University and she seems interested in my project. She’s also happy to supervise via distance. I’m also looking at boosting my understanding of research methodology, as it’s such a cruicial part of a big research project.
If the official PhD program doesn’t work out, then I’m also in the process of working out how I can achieve my goals via other means. I’m currently studying one subject this sememster, which will count towards a Graduate Diploma in Vocational Education and Training. I’m looking into how I can gain some credit towards some of these subjects. Fingers crossed. My HECS debt doesn’t need to get any bigger.