The 2022 edition of the Swiss Design Network conference took place at the Zurich University of the Arts. Titled Counterparts: Exploring Design Beyond the Human, the conference aimed to provide a basis for a joint exploration of what happens when we shift away from human-centered and universalist views of design and begin contemplating future ways of co-existing and co-emerging with others on this planet. Which ideas, experiences, practices, and possibilities unfold in the wake of such a shift? How can design be re-thought accordingly?
I was happy participate in the conference, moderating the panel Towards Co-Existence and Co-Emergence, with Flurina Gradin, Julie Van Oyen and Haig Armen, Jenny Bentley and Twisha Mehta. Thank you to the Swiss Design Network for having me!
A School of Schools, Part 1: Historical Perspectives at the Swiss Design Network’s Beyond Change conference. PhotoÂ Samuel Hanselmann, IXDM.
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, was present at the 2018 Swiss Design Network’s Beyond Change conference in the form ofÂ a double sessionÂ exploring historical and contemporary design education alternatives in order to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness in our contemporary context. The sessions explored the complexities of past and present educational initiatives.Â The first session, titledÂ Historical Perspectives, included presentations by James Langdon (speaking in the image above), Livia Rezende, and Zara Arshad. It focused on alternative design education initiatives taking place in South America, Western Europe and South Asia. Presentations explored diverse pedagogical positions and their spaces of agency, and reflected on what we can learn from them in our current times.
The second session, titled Contemporary Alternatives, included presentations byÂ Prem Krishnamurthy, Merve Bedir and Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, transdisciplinary practitioners whose approach is reinforced and permeated by learning. We looked at a research institute that doubles as a community action center and laboratory of learning; a site-specific offshore laboratory and educational experiment that engages multiple educational institutions; and a year-long initiative for a space for production, presentation, and potential pedagogy. These practices create new knowledge, search for alternatives to implemented systems, and, with radical diversity, push the boundaries of design.
The sessions were moderated by Jan Boelen and myself, and sought to make public part of the research that will lead to the biennial opening later this year in Istanbul. Thank you to the organizers, and especially Nina Paim and Claudia Mareis, for the opportunity to bring the discussion surrounding A School of Schools to Basel!
I’m honored to have been working as a program consultant for the upcoming Beyond Change conference, organized by the Swiss Design Network. It will take place in Basel from 8-10 March, and will focus on socially and politically motivated design, fostering feminist, queer and decolonized perspectives. Within the star-studded and very ambitious program, the conference will include a double session curated in collaboration with the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools,Â focusing on alternative design pedagogies in the past and today.Â I will be moderatingÂ those debates alongside Jan Boelen.
It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with the conference organization team, Claudia Mareis, Nina Paim and Sarah Haug, and I’m very much looking forward to attending Beyond Change! Tickets are available here should you wish to do the same.