Collaborative Power of Awareness

Prior to the development of this course little collaboration has occurred among the entities of the College of Built Environments; BE Labs scrapped the surface on the possibility of multi-departmental engagement, but said labs came and went quickly. Considering that designers in their respective professions must interact on a regular basis it seems ridiculous for design students to be isolated to their departmental units.




the act of working with another or others on a joint project


something created by working jointly with another or others


the act of cooperating as a traitor, esp. with an enemy occupying one’s own country


It is interesting that in the definition of “collaboration” there is nothing to be said for the difficulties that inherently exist in the process of collaboration. While charetting within the confines of the Henry Art Gallery students and professionals are not stakeholders of the problem at hand – we had little experience with Aurora, and nothing was going to change as a result of our decision making process. Collaboration requires equal investment and dedication from all parties. Collaboration requires passion.


Furthermore, the role of the devil’s advocate is an important one that ultimately enhances the quality of any end product. The devil was lacking in the crisp environment of the Henry; everyone knew that at the end of these three hours our lives [and those that we speak of] would go back to normal. The point for many was to get through the three hours rather than extrapolate on what it means to collaborate. As students perhaps that is where we get stuck…Interestingly enough nearly all of the guest speakers that joined in Tuesday conversations spoke to how successful collaborations are a result of individual people doing what they do best [on their own], but generating concepts by playing off the ideas of one another – collaboration via individual interpretation.


Ultimately, I found that the basis for collaboration is an even playing field, for if anyone has more “power,” or the appearance of such, that individual shall dominate the conversation. To a certain extent collaboration is a result of self-awareness, as well as awareness in general. How am I speaking to others; in what tone do I respond; what voice is perceived? How is said person responding to my voice; is he/she being included, etc.? The ability to read one’s body language is key in determining one’s next move forward.


Personally, the most I gained from the course as a whole was a result of my fellow team members; the team was composed of a landscape architect, architect, and interaction designer. Our conversations inspired actions and reactions. Of course it takes time to get to know one another, to gain insight into the inner workings of others, but as a few weeks passed we found ourselves functioning as a unit.


Generally speaking, if the notion of critical collaboration continues within the College of Built Environments [which it should], perhaps facilitators should come from a variety of fields rather than solely architecture, for we all think differently and it is necessary to have all voices represented. Collaboration should be emphasized more in order to foster the development of adept individuals that can advocate of a solution, or rather multiple iterations of a solution.


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