15 May 2019: MOU with Central Saint Martins, Signing Ceremony @Tokyo Tech

A team from Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London (CSM) visited the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and two universities officially signed MOU. The two institutions will further promote collaboration in academic research, education, and university-industry partnership.

MOU Signing Ceremony (From the left, Prof. Nohara, Prof. Sampei, Prof. Nakai, Prof. Till, Ms. Dickson, Ms.Proudley, Prof. Wada).  Photo © TiTech 2019

On May 15th, after a meeting between President Kazuya Masu of Tokyo Tech and head of CSM, Prof. Jeremy Till, the MOU signing ceremony

was attended by Prof. Norihiro Nakai (Dean of School of Decision Science and Technology), Prof. Yuji Wada (Dean of School of Materials and Chemical Technology), Prof. Mitsuji Sampei (Associate Dean of School of Engineering), Prof. Shigeki Nakagawa (Director of Office of Education and International Cooperation), Prof. Kayoko Nohara (School of Environment and Society, WRHI research member) from Tokyo Tech, and Prof. Till (Head of School), Rachel Dickson (Dean of Academic Programmes), and Gemma Proudley (International Partnerships Development Manager) from CSM. The participants from the two universities exchanged opinions on the further promotion of collaborative research and partnership.

Present exchange (from the left, Prof. Wada, Prof. Nakai, Prof. Till)  Photo © TiTech 2019

During the ceremony, the participants also discussed about the history of the two institutions, previous activities of the two universities’ collaborative project in the past two years and a half, and existing examples of science/technology and art/design collaborations in Japan and the U.K. Presents were also exchanged. Prof. Till from the background of architectural studies explained the choice of wrapping paper of London’s city skyline to Prof. Nakai with specialty in urban studies. The ceremony was carried out in a witty and pleasant atmosphere.

 Luncheon Meeting. Photo © TiTech 2019

Following the signing ceremony, a luncheon meeting was also held. Joined by Prof. Nohara, Prof. Nakagawa, Prof. Shinya Hanaoka (School of Environment and Society) and Prof. Masahiko Hara (School of Materials and Chemical Technology) from Tokyo Tech, and Prof. Till, Ms. Dickson, Ms. Proudley, Dr. (Reader) Betti Marenko and Dr. Ulrike Oberlack (also Project Professors of WRHI) from CSM, the event was held in South Bldg. 5.

Sharing the same venue as the colloquium carried out on the previous day, May 14th, the faculty members reflected on the LEGO works made during the workshop of the colloquium to consider the methodology of Transdisciplinarity and the videos of the previous activities and events. The members all look forward to the future collaboration and strengthened partnership after the official start of the signing of MOU.

LEGO works made by participants at yesterday’s Colloquiam workshop. Photo © TiTech 2019




14 May 2019: Colloquium with Central Saint Martins@TokyoTech

Before the signing of MOU on May 15, a Colloquium was held with Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London (CSM) on May 14.

Eleven faculty members from Tokyo Tech (Prof. Kayoko Nohara, Prof. Junichi Takada, Prof. Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Prof. Masahiro Susa, Prof. Haruyuki Fujii, Prof. Daisuke Kurabayashi, Prof. Minoru Nakayama, Assoc. Prof. Naoya Abe, Assoc. Prof. Wataru Hijikata, and Hiroshi Tsuda(Executive officer of Concent, Inc.), and Susumu Yoneyama (URA)), four from CSM (Prof. Till, Ms. Dickson, and Project Professors of WRHI, Dr. (Reader) Betti Marenko and Dr. Ulrike Oberlack) gathered at the venue in South Bldg. 5. Heather Barnett and Dr. Nathan Cohen also joined from London via Skype. During the colloquium, in addition to launching the White Paper, Becoming Hybrid, which reflects the collaboration between the two universities in the past two and a half years and celebrated and celebrating the official MOU, the participants also joined a workshop utilizing LEGO to consider the methodology and meaning of Transdisciplinarity. Students from Nohara lab also assisted with the telecommunication, facilitation, and running of the event.

At the colloquium, faculty members from varying specialty gathered. It started with greeting and reflections on the previous activities by Dr. Marenko, Dr. Oberlack, and Prof. Nohara. The series of events and activities between the two universities started from a symposium in May 2017 and was followed by teaching and research residence of the CSM teaching faculties at Tokyo Tech, philosophy cafes, Wearable workshops, public workshop, and joint workshop held at CMS in London.  With documentary films, the report showed the roadmap of the past explorations of the methodology and future visions of Transdisciplinarity. It had also gained grants from the Arts Council, Tokyo. This journey had been supported by diverse participants from educational institutions and corporations. Sharing the fruits of the experiments so far, Prof. Nohara also clarified that the final purpose of this project is not making products but raising questions and seeking solutions through the Transdisciplinarity when facing the uncertain future.

In the following session, Barnett via Skype facilitated a workshop utilizing LEGO as a tool. At the venue in Tokyo Tech, the participants were divided into three groups. First, every one produced their own LEGO works based on their own considerations of Hybrid Methodology, issues and visions about the future collaboration. At this stage, the works were abstract and carried out in silence. In the next part, the group members explained the meanings of their works inside the groups. Then it opened to the floor with the groups presenting their ideas and discussions. Dr. Cohen also joined from London and presented his LEGO work. The models were all unique, some taking metaphors from “flower”, “window”, and “human body”, some endowed with the meanings of “feasibility”, “diversity”, and “uncertainty”. The participants, using English or Japanese with the facility of simultaneous interpretation, and traveling between Tokyo and London, together delineated the unlimited potential and positive vision of Transdisciplinarity and Hybrid Methodology. Prof. Yoshiharu Tsukamoto from architectural studies employed “network” as the concept, joined LEGO bricks of different colors and the work became a large structure, which seemed to symbolize a “hybrid”. Hiroshi Tsuda presented one of which the bricks were added to each other not through the intended joining parts and revealed the expectation of the collaboration to question the conventional ways. He also presented the significance to explore once again the merger of varying disciplines before the process of modernization in the context of Japan.

In the final part, the participants expressed their visions of the future after the signing of MOU. Prof. Wataru Hijikata, who specializes in Mechanical Design and collaboration between medical studies and engineering (for example, artificial hearts) shared his opinion from the perspective of research in science and technology and presented the significance of the collaboration between science/technology and art/design, “science and technology is convenient in a way however it is art that entertain people. Only through the merger can we find the way leading to happiness.”

Staff and students from Nohara Lab also supported and participated in the colloquium. They also expressed the ideas about Transdisciplinarity and Hybrid after participating in the colloquium. Chihiro Wada (Doctoral first year) put down that “there is an attractive possibility the hybrid of art and science can bring to the world through influencing and complementing each other… I feel that art has rich resources or elements that science tends to lack or disregard such as “beauty” or “heart” or “kokoro” in Japanese. It is certainly impossible to enrich the world only by pursuing the technology or convenience. There are plenty of things that I can learn from the hybrid and I believe that it represents or indicates a lot about the depth or complexity of the world and also, human being.” Takumi Saito (Master’s first year) expressed his opinion that “the significance of hybridity emerges when each discipline faces problems that it cannot tackle with on its own.”  The project also anticipates further exploration of the methods of Transdisciplinarity and Hybrid from the enthusiastic students and researchers.
With vibrant discussions, the colloquium crossed boundaries of language, academic disciplines, and physical space. The project members refreshed themselves after the MOU and would like to embrace further challenges with confidence and courage.

(by: Mengfei Pan)

Event Documentation


(Photos © Nohara Lab 2019)

5月15日の締結式に先駆け、5月14日にロンドン芸術大学セントラル・セント・マーティンズ校(CSM)とコロキアムが行われました。東工大側からは11名の教員(野原佳代子教授、高田潤一教授、塚本由晴教授、須佐匡裕教授、藤井晴行教授、倉林大輔教授、中山実教授、阿部直也准教授、土方亘准教授、津田広志氏((株)コンセント取締役)、米田晋URA等、一方CSMからは4名(ジェレミー・ティル校長、レイチェル・ディクソン教務部長、ベティ・マレンコWRHI特任教授、ウルリケ・オバーラックWRHI特任教授)が南5号館の会場に集いました。さらにヘザー・バーネット、ネイサン・コーエン博士がロンドンからSkypeを利用して参加しました。2年半にわたるこれまでの連携活動を振り返った共著の白書 “Becoming Hybrid 『生まれゆくハイブリッド(混成)』”の完成と、MOU締結を記念し祝うとともに、レゴを用いて異分野融合の手法と意義について考え、議論がなされました。また野原研の学生たちが通信、運営、ファシリテーション面でサポートをしました。





(文章:潘 夢斐)