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Best in show

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Two excellent contributions to the conference stand out: one was a tour d'horizon by David Dunster, of Vienna, the state of education, the possible way forward, the whole damn thing. He reminded us that the professional bodies cannot help the schools in a direct way since they are owned by the university system. The relationship between them is a 'neurotic romance'.

Stephan Behnisch gave a brilliant short talk on what it is he expects of students in his office, which he says is about 'designing and delivering, not finishing'. He was straightforward about skills: 'I can teach people to detail but not to design. I can't teach them to be socially competent.' He attacked the tendency in some offices to 'repeat and get it over with', and observed both mournfully, but cheerfully, that 'with computers you can make the biggest shit look beautiful'. Who does he take on? People with at least two fluent languages and a broad cultural background. His top designer recently had also been a film-maker. As for computers, 'specialised idiots have no future'.

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