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Existentialist supervisory practice

When supervising a thesis project, I begin by helping the student to locate the project within personal, professional, and societal development. I advise them to think about their projects as existential projects, as a way of becoming more than what they already are. We stumble upon the barriers to becoming more and question who else is facing similar obstacles. Like in Theater of the Oppressed, I help students realize that these barriers are not personal but structural to our society, keeping the oppressed within the bounds of oppression. This realization inspires students to join people who face similar barriers and develop participatory design projects with them.

The key opening questions are:

  • Who are you?
  • Who do you want to become after and because of the research thesis?
  • What is hindering you to become that person?
  • What is hindering people like you to become that person?

Recently, I’m using B.akka archetype library to help students expressing who they are and who they want to become. This card deck is a partial but quite appealing representation of typical young identities in the current Brazilian intellectual workforce.

Categories: Methods & Tools.

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