About the event

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Global warming, loss of biodiversity, droughts, famine, war, populism, a global pandemic, political polarization, economic crisis and inflation, rising inequalities, eroding educational systems: Current and anticipated crises, resulting from what is called ‘development’, are fundamentally shifting and reshaping our being in the world on many levels (global/local, micro/macro, social/individual, etc.) and have been marked by a profound insensitivity to the environment as well as a callous disregard for humankind. In various forms, these different forms of crises have been rendering illusions of stability about political order, economy, and ideas of progress obsolete. They have also perpetuated and oftentimes escalated the divisions within and between populations, socio-economic classes and communities. Formal political structures of our time seem to be limited in their capabilities of confronting the entanglement of crises on their own. 

Design, as a discipline, responds to these developments, as it responds to and develops in accordance with overarching challenges for more than a century with a clear ‘social turn’. This poses questions to long-held beliefs, practices, and concepts in and about design itself. Bleak though the terrain due to crisis situations may be, we are left wondering how design may break through the deadlock and contribute to bringing about much needed, fundamental changes. How does design show us a common future– and the multiple paths to get to it?’ How may it stand out in relief as a sign of hope? How might it lead to the emergence of realistic solutions and even signal a few victories by way of ushering in positive change? 

The international SDN conference will bring together scholars from various disciplines to explore how design responds to and shapes our understanding of crises by encompassing a range of activities and interventions.

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