About the event

What is the political impact of design? How, when and where is design a social practice? And how could an expertise in social design help us to deal with contemporary challenges? Twenty-two professionals in the field met at the Estonian Academy of Arts to discuss these questions. As explained by Bori Fehér, leader of the Social Design Research HUB at MOME: “This event will contribute to giving form to a rapidly expanding field of study, developing new ways of inclusive design and social intervention in Estonia”. The frontiers of design are rapidly expanding within society; In the recent years, design practice has moved beyond the ideation of commercial products and is more and more considered as a set of techniques for engaging with complex problems. Hence, there is a need to open up the roles of design within wider economic and political issues. In this vein, EKA is opening a new MA programme in Social Design coordinated by Francisco Martínez. Students will gain an understanding of design as a political force, while expanding their capacity to intervene in contemporary issues and comprehend social transformations. Experienced colleagues from all over Europe joined us to discuss the key questions in the field. For instance, Guy Julier has written about activism and the economies of design; Jesko Fezer about architecture and community making; Eeva Berglund about how to research environmental activism; Adam Drazin about design anthropology; Jussi Koitela about hospitality and interdisciplinary projects; Maija Rozenfelde about design institutions; Liene Ozoliņa about social theory; Bianca Herlo about bottom-up politics and civic infrastructures; and Alvise Mattozzi about innovation and sustainability, just to name a few key topics of expertise. Likewise, we organised a series of experimental workshops and fieldtrips with local and international colleagues, exploring a wide range of issues, such as multi-species communication, mental health and indigenous rights. (Photos by Joosep Kivimäe)

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