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Transformative Teaching

Focus on Pedagogy 2022
Exploring concepts of time in design through movement and representation
M. Arnold-Mages & S. Neely
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


A dominant practice used in service design is to notate an experience as a sequence of touchpoints. Touchpoints represent a given point or node in a service or interaction. Touchpoints might be the point-of-sale, a specific screen in a software application, or the moment a customer realizes a need for a product. However, participants in a service do not experience the touchpoint as an isolated moment or a simultaneous gestalt. Experience is not frozen in time. Services are more like gestures that unfold, with an approach and follow-through. As an organizing concept for service design, a collection of touchpoints inadequately represents the unfolding experience of the service over time. A goal realized in several courses taught by the authors (both together and individually) involves transforming students’ perspective of the temporal experience — moving away from these static ‘snapshot’ ideas of experience and towards a focus on shaping the unfolding experience. This paper will present several alternative definitions for experience over time — drawn from Greek rhetoric — and discuss how these perspectives of time are introduced and developed through different assignments and embodied instructional approaches. In one course presented, the authors used graphical representations to explore the experiential journey, and in another set of examples they adapted movement based methods from the stage performer training method Dalcroze Eurhythmics to better understand students’ engagement with clock-time (chronos) vs the less addressed felt-time (kairos). Here we ask: What is an event? How might we better design for experiencing? Through this paper we will offer definitions, practices, and pedagogical approaches that might be used to develop richer understandings of time, applicable primarily to service or interactive design practice, and also architecture and interior design.


Michael Arnold Mages, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Design at Northeastern University. He has worked with the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the US Veterans’ Administration, to design facilitated events for citizen participation. He is a principal investigator in an NIH R01 clinical trial examining how mHealth-facilitated conversation can help partners better support a patient’s therapy adherence. Michael’s research looks at how things (objects, spaces, systems) can be facilitative in difficult or high-stakes conversations.

Stephen Neely, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Eurhythmics in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University. Stephen teaches the Eurhythmics courses, a historic and required component of the music performance curriculum which uses movement, improvisation, and participatory experience as central components of musicianship training. His research explores the physical nature of experience and the role of gesture in everyday interactions—that is, the ways in which our feeling bodies are necessary components of any participation and how an understanding of this can reveal artful potential in experience.