The MODE Summit in New Zealand was an absolute blast this past week! MODE is a gathering of design educators and researchers who specialize in the area of motion design. The theme for the 2019 edition was (inter)play, the way in which two or more things have an effect on each other.

Held at Massey University’s Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, the Summit was an inspiring three days of talks, keynote presentations, and workshops. Educators came from diverse backgrounds in design, typography, cinema, theatre, animation, and storytelling to discuss interfaces, interactive systems, and narratives that incorporate exchanges of dynamic and well-planned interplay.

The Summit kicked off with a Whakatau + Welcome by Tama Kirikiri who serves as the Sector Leader Maori Medium of Massey’s Institute of Education. Following this special introduction, the Creative Director at Experience Perception, John LePore spoke about his work with Marvel movies, the attributes of a motion designer, and kissing your brain. The attributes of a motion designer you ask? According to John, motion designers are:

  • Multi-Disciplinary
  • Creatively Fluid
  • Technical
  • Temporal Artists
  • Thorough (& Invested!)
  • Funny

The next day, I was honored to present a paper co-authored with Kelly Murdoch-Kitt entitled “Cultural Interplay: Creating Interactive Experiences Through Collaborative Video.” This case study of student teams, co-located in the Middle East and North America, draws from a constructive-developmental paradigm to examine the challenges and benefits of creating collaborative video sketches as part of motion design pedagogy. We introduce this method for co-production with the dual purposes of teaching students how to use motion design as a UX tool and facilitating their development of intercultural competencies. Organized into cross-cultural teams, students worked together to produce an interactive concept for spatial, social, playful, and cultural engagement using video sketches. Student feedback and project outcomes make a case for the dynamic interplay between intercultural engagement and collaborative video as a method to enhance how design students value diversity, understand themselves and others, and deal constructively with conflict.

It was such a pleasure to present this ongoing research and share the stage with talented design faculty from across the world. Some of my favorite presentations covered topics related to motion design’s interplay with multi-modalities, murals, micro-interactions, and the Stroop effect. The conference also ended with a fantastic presentation by designer Jonny Kofoed, Director of Motion & Design at Assembly. A big thank you to the MODE organizers for making our Wellington experience such a great one. With so much inspiring content, I am headed home with a lot of new ideas for both personal and professional projects in the coming year!