When I arrive at the Concordia’s Grey Nuns Residence in Montréal there is a guy in jeans and slip-on vans lounging on the steps enjoying the sunshine from behind mirrored sunglasses. We look at each other and simultaneously nod and say “Design Inquiry”. This is DI Board member Ben Van Dyke. He greets me warmly and directs me to the lounge where more people are gathering.
Others are preparing dinner in a communal kitchen. There is music playing. Large sheets of paper display a proposed schedule with brief abstracts of people’s interests on the wall. This is the start of DesignInquiry a week-long research intensive exploring what makes Montreal a UNESCO City of Design.
I put my bag and cardboard tube in my room. I take few deep breaths. Outside in the hall I see more people collecting in the kitchen introducing and reuniting. When everyone has arrived we eat dinner together – purple potatoes with blue cheese, steamed artichokes, fiddleheads and sausage.
The framers for the event Emily Luce and Christopher Moore welcome us. They encourage us to “document everything”. There will be a journal to publish and an opportunity to submit work to the Portes Ouvertes a city-wide design open house and art show. They spark a round table ripple of hellos. People start to discuss their research interests amongst themselves. To my right is a professor from the UK who studied at Yale, he tells me about his inquiry into marginalization of the typographer. To my left is a neu...