Creative Industries in the Digital Age DigiKara

The objective of the Digikara program is to support the professional development of emerging and aspiring young people in the creative sectors by providing tools, network and skills to actively participate in the developing creative industry of Pakistan. Pakistan is on the threshold of a digital society. The young generation is tech-savvy, has visions and high potential. In the near future more and more jobs will arise in creative digital industries.
 
DigiKara addresses a unique opportunity for creative, young people to be actively engaged in Pakistan’s quickly developing digital and creative sectors by bridging the gap between academic education and actual participation in the creative industry, to grasp the huge potential to be more visible, respected, and economically contributing.
 
A workshop series spanning between July and October 2019 will cover a range of topics to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of the participants to build their entrepreneurial spirit and provide tools towards a greater range of opportunities within the creative industries. Through training, mentoring, project and team work, this programme will also help creative young people to connect with new audiences and societal needs.
 
Kick-off Workshop
 
DigiKara formally took off with a kick-off workshop and Iftar celebration on the 21st of May 2018, as 25 students of five departments at Karachi University’s Department of Visual Studies had been competitively selected in April. The kick-off provided an exciting opportunity to get to know each other, create excitement for the lined up topics and experts, as well as start to familiarise themselves with the highly interactive and co-learning methodologies. Students were able to express their expectations, discuss the compatibility of creativity and economic demands in an open setting, and get a first sense of interdisciplinary collaboration.

 

Workshop Series

Design Thinking (8th to 11th July 2019)
 
This first workshop in the DigiKara project explored the interdisciplinary, creative approach through the lens of Design Thinking.
Exploring the required balance between the rational and the emotional that is required for any strategy, ideation, development, and also creativity, four ‘characters’ were developed around shared human desires. These characters were further developed as we imagined their lives in 2035. A variety of methods were used throughout the four day workshop towards human- or customer-centered design, in conversation with these characters and their human desires.
Imagination and creative writing were the main creative tools for each individual participant, combined with describing, mind mapping, and collaging to communicate the ideas to other participants. In groups of five, the students started to develop products, services, or ideas in conversation with their characters’ life stories, conflicts and opportunities. Ideation and basic prototyping of the ideas, products, and services rounded off the workshop and the rapid design thinking process. The final workshop day iterated visualisation and impact of the developed project ideas as the participants presented to each other.
The four groups had thematically developed project ideas that ranged from sustainable transport through a futuristic learning institute to bionic limbs and to feminist communities, while each team member had their own spin based on their disciplinary thrust or an interest they would like to pursue.
 
One of the main learnings of this first workshop in the DigiKara project was that creativity and design always needs to relate to humans and our desires. This also applies to all digital tools where there continues to be a relation and connection between the digital application and human utilisation. A further learning reflection of participants related to the added value or synergies available when working in interdisciplinary teams.
 
The workshop facilitator was Mrs. Svantje Roessner, who for nearly 20 years of her career worked at BMW before starting her own business Poetic Design http://www.poetic.de/en/. Aim of grounding in the word poetic is to create, unfold impact, and render the invisible visible. Since founding her business, she has worked with various public, private and academic audiences for creativity, strategy, innovation, design, dialogue, and much more. She strongly believes that emotion is the main element to access success.
Digital Thinking (30th July to 2nd August 2019)
 
The overall aim of the Digital Thinking workshop was to familiarise participants with all aspects of the digital world, in the form of a self-transformative process of filming each other as memories, thoughts, reactions, and ideas are deepened.
 
The workshop started form a theoretical discussion on history of the machine and reflecting on what a computer is, whether it just a tool or more, and how it influences our behaviours. Moving to a practical exercise, the participants started filming each other as they recounted childhood sounds. This experience was revealing in that memories of sound carry many layers, some of which can easily be captured digitally, some require different tools and perspectives. The second exercise was about telling stories and telling lies, as a resource to discuss what occurs when we step in front of and behind the camera, what happens when we digitalise our stories, and what we experience in the art of forgetting. The following discussion surrounded whether and how technology alienates from whom we feel we are: does our digital image de-materialise us, or vice versa? On the third day, the participants were introduced to video editing software and a large range of freeware, and in turn discussed the impacts of digital features, e.g. colour grading adds emotionality, or how finding and editing glitches in the work can humanise the digital experience. Finally, the participants explored how the digital world creates an attention economy and how one can be seduced into over-production.
For their project ideas, the four groups recalled the baseline of desires, and explored how digital ideas and tools could address unfulfilled needs. Two groups deepened their user experience in relation to VR, holograms and other models of representation. One group refined their idea towards a community app that would connect people with unfulfilled needs and facing everyday challenges to others who could offer help.
 
The main takeaways from this second workshop in the DigiKara series was the exploration of how today’s digital space requires us to deconstruct and re-construct at all times all our understandings of the world, which in turn requires a need to understand the history of digitalisation and workings of the digital world. Video editing helped put one’s imagination into the abstract space where one can creatively work.
 
The workshop facilitator was Dr. Martin Burckhardt, cultural theorist and author, with the most recent book title (in German): A short history of Digitalisation http://burckhardt.ludicmedia.de/#/biography
Having started his career in the radio and recording incited his interest in the cultural significance of the computer. While delving into teaching, game design and programming over the years, he wrote several books and curated a number of platforms. In his book “The Philosophy of the Machine”, the machine is portrayed as the cultural unconscious, a theo-, socio- and psychoplastic apparatus. His latest book ‘A Short History of Digitalisation’ was published (in German) in 2018.
 
Upcoming Workshop Series:
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Models
  • Ethical and legal aspects of creative practice
  • Gaming
  • Virtual Reality