“Is activism in design a spoof or can designers really make a difference?”
“We’ve all been there: it’s another late night in the studio, and you’ve got hours of pixel-pushing and deck-polishing ahead. Your social life, if it exists, is under duress. The cramp in your mousing hand makes you wonder if it really is time to see that doctor. Meanwhile your mind wanders from the task at hand to what you can do—what you can change about your ‘situation’—to close the gap between the seeming pointlessness of how you earn your living and the realization that your time and energy could be better spent doing something (anything!) more meaningful. Like your brother who joined the Peace Corps in India. Or the industrial designer you read about who designed a new clean water system for a village in Tanzania. The architect who took a 6-month leave of absence from his job to build relief housing in Haiti.”
This is the introduction paragraph of ‘Why We Need a New and Hyper-Local Model for Design Activism’ by American designer Julie Kim on the popular design blog Core77. In the text she further expands on design’s influence in developing countries and the following surge in available money for such programs. She composes an argument on why designer should shift focus and found social projects closer to home. Kim closes her article with a handsome list of tools that designers could use to make their presence felt in their own local societies and support local initiatives to change the world for the better. Is activism in design a spoof, or can designers really make a difference?
Moderator: Ryan Pescatore Frisk
Speakers: Heather Daam, Lotte van Laatum
and Pink Pony Express Design Debates
Eindhoven strives to be the Design Capital of Europe. These ambitions make sense, with a flourishing design network, impressive design and art galleries, a smart and creative region and of course the world famous Dutch Design Week. A Design Capital needs a platform to discuss, feed the design climate, to cross boundaries with other disciplines and of course connect all players (and players-to-be) within the field. Therefore Eindhoven-based cultural and educational institutions Design Academy Eindhoven, MU, The New Institute, Onomatopee, Krabbedans, Stichting Alice and Capital D founded the Design Debates platform. From 2013 on the Debates are curated by Design Academy Eindhoven, MU and The New Institute with the support of critical friends: Onomatopee, Alice, Capital D. Every last Wednesday of the month Design Debates Eindhoven will host an afternoon debate at the Designhuis in Eindhoven.