Let’s Talk About It

Thelma Golden and Hilton Als in the David Zwirner studio.

Professional training for young designers is important, but design education should also give young people new frameworks for understanding the world.

Ali S. Qadeer, on design as knowledge production

Talking It Out
Great, purposeful design results from conversations. Here at Frontier, we talk with our partners, fellow designers, business leaders, educators, artists, scientists, writers, friends—and, of course, with each other. What we learn filters into all the work we do.

For a year we’ve been sharing conversations with leading design practitioners through First Things First, our podcast about how design shapes and creates our world. Now we’re launching a new series of online conversations under the Dispatch umbrella. Every week or two we will publish thought-provoking discussions—with designers, yes, but also with people doing purpose-driven and inspiring work in other fields.

The first interview is with designers and educators Ali S. Qadeer and Chris Lee. They recently edited a design-themed issue of the contemporary art journal C Magazine, which prompted our talk about design as knowledge production and the field’s relationship to art and to power. Our next conversation is with Chris Govias, chief of design at the Canadian Digital Service

To mark the occasion, we have compiled some of the most inspiring recent conversations we’ve read and heard. We hope we’ll get to talk with you soon, too.

For Your Ears
First Things First contributes to a growing design-podcast ecosystem. Among others, we listen to 99% Invisible, Scratching the Surface, Wireframe, On Margins, Google Design Notes, The Observatory, The Design of Business…, and Monocle on Design

Some favourite recent episodes include author Lisa Brennan-Jobs discussing her book Small Fry, and its design, with Craig Mod; Rob Giampietro, head of design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, talking about his career path, leading design teams, and sweating the small stuff; museum director Thelma Golden speaking with writer and curator Hilton Als about the life and teachings of James Baldwin; and pioneering technology writer and Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelly discussing artificial intelligence.

For Your Eyes
From its outset, this Paris Review conversation between writers Sarah Manguso and Kate Zambreno is a tonic. Zambreno: “I am more interested in the fragment, the notes, what is ongoing or continuing. My desire in this new writing life of the past few years has been to be small, to stay small.

In conversation with The Creative Independent, poet Ocean Vuong has much to say about being generous in your work: “That’s my mantra to myself: Pay attention to people, what they care about, their worlds, their words, their aesthetics, their life.”

And in The Believer, poet Natasha Trethewey makes a declaration that applies to most creative work: “I think clarity is revolutionary.” And, immediately after, an important clarification: “My poems are designed to be accessible, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.”

Every few weeks, we send Dispatch, a newsletter that draws together fascinating stories on creativity and purpose.