STABLES, K., 1992. The role of fantasy in contextualising and resourcing design and technological activity. IDATER 1992 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
Design and technological activity is premised on a notion of what might be rather than what is, on the capacity of a human being to change, develop or create a new `made world' product or system in response to a desire or purpose that is perceived. This inevitably involves us in exploring in our minds what a product, situation or need might be like - in using our imaginations in a way that frees us from the restrictions of reality. This may result in ideas which are pure fantasy - `cloud cuckoo land' that perhaps can never be realised. Alternatively the results may be fantastic - creative, innovative ideas that can be successfully realised.
This paper explores the ways in which fantasy can be used as a positive support to design and technological activity. It describes examples where fantasy plays a role in such activity with young children and discusses the value of this particularly in the context of `designerly' and `imaginative' play and creativity. The paper then moves on to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the use of fantasy in design and technology activity with older children and the way in which it relates to design and technology activity of adults. Finally it raises uestions about the point at which fantasy becomes visionary, and issues about the implications for teaching and learning indicated through examples of both use and abuse of fantasy and the important role it can play in developing design and technology capability.