Academia as a "place" (for design purposes) Lassi Kortela 17 Jul 2019 16:03 UTC
Your ideas on academia got me thinking.
Humans have strong ties to particular places (especially in the physical
world, but also in virtual worlds). A huge part of the brain is probably
dedicated to noticing all the subtle differences between different
places. Hence we come to feel that each place (town, city, country) has
its own character.
The problem with a globalized society is that we spend less time in
strongly identified places (people who travel a lot for work eventually
think everywhere feels the same; global restaurant and store chains and
use of English reinforce that; behind a screen, people from different
countries don't seem all that different). Global news is so often from
the same few countries. Virtual places especially become more and more
similar to each other. So we have this huge neural circuitry for
recognizing and appreciating different places, and yet we are swiftly
eradicating those differences from our environment.
It would be fun to get back a little of this place-hood. Scheme has been
developed in many universities. Those are located in particular cities
with long histories. Furthermore, the universities themselves still have
long traditions, somewhat strong personalities and some rivalry, etc. It
would be fun if we could highlight which parts of Scheme come from which
universities in some fun but unobtrusive way. And it would be extra-fun
to inject some of the culture from each university into the site. This
way we could make strong connections to academia, and yet show the
lively, quirky side of academia more than the dry institutional aspects.
This is getting extremely advanced if someone can pull off this kind of
design successfully, but it's an idea :)