Student Works

Design Despite Disciplines: Season 1

Given the opportunity, designers will endlessly debate.

Perhaps this is because different practices of design fundamentally disagree. We can plainly see this in the hotly contested differences that delineate design disciplines and movements, and in the churn of new disciplines that constantly emerge and the boundaries that are continuously in flux. However, we may also plainly see that different practices of design fundamentally concur, and that there are ways of thinking and knowing common to designers across different disciplines.

This podcast series seeks to uncover the most pressing debates that cut across design disciplines, and that offer a window into contemporary design discourse. The series is produced by students of the Master of Design program at UC Berkeley as part of the core curriculum class Debates in Design, taught by Kyle Steinfeld and Bjorn Hartmann, where we explore the important fissures and emerging territories of interdisciplinary design practice.


Take a listen to the eight episodes in Season 1 of the Design Despite Disciplines podcast series:

EPISODE 001: The 21st Century Toolmaker ft. Andrew Heumann

Out of the over 1.2 million species ever discovered, only one has been observed to make tools that help create other tools: The human. One specific human, fittingly named Andrew “Heumann,” represents the spirit of designing tools like no other. He is a designer, architect, and software developer who made a decade-long career out of creating digital tools to facilitate automation.

Episode by: Abhi Ghavalkar, Franklyn Bucknor, Titus Ebbecke

Released 09/20/21, Transcript link


EPISODE 002: Could Memes Become an Economy? ft. Jaron Lanier

How does Jaron Lanier become entangled with digital activism and why should we pay any attention to him? Well, it turns out he has a remarkable track record of predicting digital ethical issues way before his time. Jaron is a computer science philosopher, writer, and activist against giant social media platforms. Oh, and we almost forgot, he is also known for being the father of virtual reality.

Episode by: Elijah Lee, Julia Park, Zhiyue Wang

Released: 09/27/21, Transcript link


EPISODE 003: The Future of Manufacturing ft. Mike Kuniavsky

We are living in a world where data has been used to influence almost every aspect of human life. Data and digitalization has changed the way we work with products and the way we produce products. We talked to an expert, Mike Kuniavsky a UX pioneer and lead researcher at Accenture, who works on applications that facilitate digital transformation in manufacturing.

Episode by: Xinyi Zhu, Jiaxuan Ren

Released: 10/04/21, Transcript link


EPISODE 004: Continuity in Space and Time ft. Melodie Yashar

What does it take to implement future-facing design and concepts? What are the implications? Melodie Yashar is a co-founder, designer, researcher, instructor, and technologist who works with cutting edge technologies, such as 3D printing and robotics, with the focus on human factors, to create space architecture for human exploration and settlement on the moon and Mars.

Episode by: Adam Huth, David Zhou, Kailin Li

Released: 10/11/21, Transcript link


EPISODE 005: X is Making ft. Lilly Irani

As designers, we often think of making as the act of taking abstract concepts and creating tangible products that can be manufactured and deployed. But what are ways of making that aren’t so obviously tangible? We had the opportunity to meet with Lilly Irani, a design ethnographer activist, and professor at UC San Diego to talk about unconventional forms of making.

Episode by: Effie Jia, Georgios Grigoriadis, Jan Veicht

Released: 10/18/21, Transcript link



EPISODE 006: The Spectrum of Craft ft. Leah Buechley and Ron Rael

Craft exists on a spectrum that encompasses disciplines, materials, tools, and cultures, all of which are constantly evolving. To explore the spectrum of craft and all of its permutations, the high and low end of craft, cultural linkages, traditions, tools, and materials, and the act of making, we spoke with Ron Rael and Leah Buechley, design professors interested in the culture of craft.

Episode by: Mercedes Saldana, Penny Lin, Susanne Maddux

Released: 10/25/21, Transcript link



EPISODE 007: A Million Shades of Grey ft. Purin Phanichphant

Everything can be seen from all kinds of perspectives, especially in design. Right and wrong, true and false, success and fail, yes and no, contrasting objects are common in our design decisions, and in our life. For Purin Phanichphant, art creation is a channel to communicate a million shades of grey and the pursuit of omnipresent perspective. It is a way to provoke questions, rather than coming up with an answer.

Episode by: Xiaobai Ji, Yiying Wu

Released: 11/01/21, Transcript link



EPISODE 008: Managing Products with Data ft. Shiva Rajaraman

Who are product managers? What do they do? How will the future of product management unfold? In this episode, we interviewed Shiva Rajaraman, an experienced product manager lead at Facebook who has also worked at YouTube, Spotify, and WeWork. We’ll hear about his insights about the potential risks and future outlook of the data-driven product development process.

Episode by: Shuyang Yu, Ted Huang, Yu Cheng

Released: 11/08/21, Transcript link

Full listing