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December 2012

Nanjing Arts Institute

Photos of Nanjing Arts Institute and two students who have guided me Grace and Zoe. NAI celebrated 100 years this year so is undergoing major construction. It has a school of Fine Arts, popular music, traditional music, dance, theatre, film and television, media, and design.

I have a lecture to probably over 100 of their design theory students today. While the presentation was translated, the deep questions the students asked during the one hour Q&A showed they understood deeply the concepts and where thinking of how to apply it to their own work as design managers and theorists.

How can you determine if a design is moral? How do you bridge religious conflicts? How can national characteristics be used to drive economic benefit? How can you help communities design for themselves? These are some of the questions that the students asked. They were required to ask them in English, which shows how much are the kind of students I would love to have in my masters program.

One thing I learned about getting Chinese students to ask questions is to offer each brave person a small gift as a thank you for asking the question. More hands came up once I did that without the quality of the questions diminishing.

Most exciting is meeting some on the staff members who would make perfect doctoral candidates. I would really love to spend a year teaching on China once I can speak Chinese.

Nanjing Arts Institute

Nanjing Arts Institute


Blue sky in Beijing

Last evening I took the high speed train from Beijing to Nanjing. It travelled over 300 kph making the trip in about 3 and a half hours.

It was a perfect day for train travel. The sky was blue in Beijing. Farmers were harvesting the last bits of corn, which was drying on the low brick sheds and houses.

The autumn landscape was a patchwork of farms and nearly built towns of towers. I joke that China is a country of cranes - construction cranes.

The entire trip an older group of traveling pairs helped with my Chinese pronunciation via my translation and dictionary apps on my iPhone. I had a lovely trip.

Blue sky in Beijing

Blue sky in Beijing

Blue sky in Beijing

Blue sky in Beijing


Last night I had a great workshop on Design Anthropology, research methods, and cultures-based innovation with CAFA post graduate students. They has to form teams and select something with deep cultural meaning by interviewing each other, develop sketches that is a contemporary version of the values embodied by the thing, and evaluate them against the values. I have video of the presentations that I will post later. It was lots of fun. The students selected paper cutting, calligraphy brush, and Zhou zi which is a traditional rice ball. The night was lots of fun. I look forward to spending more time with CAFA students next year.







Protective mask

While riding on the taxi, I decided to wear a protective mask as recommended by the US Embassy pollution report. :-)

We worked out the workshop for tonight and tomorrow morning. It should be fun.

Protective mask


Today's air quality in Beijing

I think I need to buy a face mask today. It is so hazy that visibility is low. But my eyes are not burning.

Today I will meet with CAFA students and staff. I am not sure what lecture or workshop I am giving, but I will make it work.

We will also visit the 987 art district which I've yet to see. Hopefully I can find some cool art that I can afford.

More to report tonight.

Today's air quality in Beijing


Hazy Lazy Beijing Sunday

View from my hotel in Beijing. Feeling good after shower and nap. Three hours difference so no jet lag. Zhou Bo had to arrive at the airport at 5:45am to meet my plane. Now preparing for tomorrow's lecture and workshop. Tonight going to old town for dinner.


Hazy Lazy Beijing Sunday