University of the Ryukyus and Kyoto University Joint Design School 2015

From Saturday, November 21 to Monday, November 23, the University of the Ryukyus and Kyoto University Joint Design School 2015 was held. In this design school, participants did group work that was not limited to any university department, generation, or district, such as businessmen versus Kyoto University students versus the Ryukyus University students. They did field work in the real world. The school’s theme was to develop a problem-solving mentality through both group work and fieldwork. In addition to existing cooperation programs, students established an enterprise, Gachiyun Inc.” Supported by Okinawa City, this workshop became more student-centered and expanded outside the University of the Ryukyus.

In the workshop, with the backing of Okinawa City and the Okinawa City shopping arcade, two themes, “The shopping arcade versus a library” and “Zoo and Museum, Okinawa Children Country,” were decided upon in order to make Okinawa City and its shopping arcade more active sites. Students chose one of the two themes and did field study discover problems, and after that they looked for ideas and set up policies for specific reforms. Since both of the themes were real problems, there were various specific primary factors combining in a disorderly way. It became a tough challenge for the students. People from the shopping arcade also attended the project presentations and gave their opinions. The most excellent proposal was “Art City GOYA,” which proposed to liken closed shutters to a canvas and to ask talented artists to provide their artwork to make the shuttered street a more attractive space. The winning team was a combined team of three international students and Japanese students. Since they had to conduct discussions in English, it could have became a handicap, but their various ideas and high quality presentation became the decisive factor.

Shopkeepers seemed to accept their ideas with good intentions. Students made the following comments: “It was a precious opportunity to talk to working adults;” “Doing a group activity with people I didn’t know was something new;” and “I could gain practical experience in discussion.” Collaboration of people from different fields could produce a new design, and it became a very useful workshop.