I was thrilled to be part of the Design Museum’s Convivial ToolsÂ symposium, which re-examined the legacy and work ofÂ the late Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich, focusing particularly on his 1973 book Tools for Conviviality. Illich argued that the nature of modern â€˜toolsâ€™, from machines to schools, had the effect of making people dependent and undermined their own natural abilities. What he called â€œconvivial toolsâ€ were those that encouraged people to think for themselves and be more socially engaged.
Convivial Tools was a programme of talks, debates and workshops exploring new strategies for a more cooperative society. Using Ivan Illichâ€™s concept of â€œconvivialityâ€, itÂ brought together designers, artists, media theorists, curators, and social thinkers from diverse fields to examine current tools and technologies that encourage alternative modes of production and social relations.
I was happy to discuss the “de-schooling” facets of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, and to take part in a day of incredible discussions and insights.