friends and colleagues...|
These newsletters intend to
facilitate the Changing the Change conference preparation. It will anticipate
programmes, abstracts and speakers profiles. And it will give information on
different kinds of Conference-related
news. But not only. It also intends to be the platform for a discussion that
will start with short interventions of different authors and will continue on
the newsletter-related blog (the CtC Blog).
This discussion will, I hope, continue beyond the conference itself.
In particular, in the next
months, from now to January 2008, the newsletter main goal is to trigger design
researchers to submit paper proposals coherent with the conference aims.
This is not an easy task: Changing the
Change wants to be a research conference with a strong and ambitious
political goal: to focus on the design research potentialities in the transition towards a sustainable knowledge
society. And to present them to the same design community (to make it more
confident in its possibilities) and to other social actors (to contribute to
the social conversations on the future and/or to solve some specific problems).
This conference, in the organisers' intentions, should show that these
design research potentialities exist. That they can be found in all the design
application fields (form products to communication, from interiors to services,
from ITC to crafts, from medical devices to fashion) and in all the regions of
the world (from the most mature industrial societies to the emerging
ones). Finally, it wants to state that
the possibility to play a positive role in the transition towards
sustainability is not only an issue for those designers who, in the past years,
have taken the first steps in this direction, but it is a challenge for every
designer and every design researcher.
To do all that, Changing the
Change has to receive papers presenting and discussing stimulating design
research results: visions, proposals and tools developed by design researchers
(or better: by interdisciplinary teams where designers played an important
role), using specific design skills and presented in an highly communicative
way (i.e. with good visualization materials in order to create a parallel exhibition:
visions and proposals from design
research world wide).
You can leave a reply to Ezio Manzini
visiting Changing the Change [BLOG]
|An attractive challenge|
(International advisory committee coordinator)
Change is a
working conference. It has a clear aim: to discuss the role of design in moving
society toward making human life sustainable. We, however, do not know how to
reach that aim. Finding ways to meet this goal is actually the purpose of the
The organizers have resisted the notion of
breaking interpreting the scope of the meeting beyond its heading. The
conference itself will hopefully do that; the participants' proposals and
experience, their ideas and visions, will flesh out the territory of
possibilities of responses to the challenges we face.
The conference is organized by designers and
directed at designers. We believe that designers could play a role in changing
the change, in re-directing the development of our world. Is it on the basis of
our capacity to work systematically toward imagining and designing futures, our
capacity to turn our ideas into images and then make them take form in the real
world? Weren't Jules Verne as an author and Flash Gordon as a character highly
instrumental in shaping the future, just because they made it visible, and
therefore desirable? How can sustainability become desirable? How can it enter
the equation of quality, of what designers and clients place at the top of
Some initiatives are promising: some
international corporations are looking at zero waste, while others have
increased their allocation to research on alternative sources of energy, and on
more efficient ways of generating energy. The City of New York is looking at
turning all its taxicabs into hybrid cars. Too little too late? Not at all.
Fifty years ago environmental conservation was totally absent from the big
corporations? agendas. Maybe these are the first steps toward sustainability.
Including the notion in the agenda is useful, more than useful: important.
Other interesting things that involve more paradigmatic
shifts are happening at the other end of the spectrum, like in the interior of
Argentina, where I was last May. Cooperatives are developing interesting
production and distribution systems, helping the locals, recovering cultural
history, and using zero environmental impact technologies. All materials used
are natural, renewable, and indigenous to the region.
Insights discover interstices that allow
action in the most unimaginable places. We are looking for testimonies to this,
we are looking for actual, factual experiences of implementing novel design
approaches that find opportunities where everybody sees only challenges, and
spaces, however narrow, that permit innovative action. The conference is
looking for ideas to share. The scale is irrelevant. Large or small. The
changes proposed could be paradigmatic or gradual. We need to explore and
discuss models of intervention.
To sum up:
- How can a new direction be applied to the
way things are, and change our culture into a sustainable one?
- How could design research contribute to
- How could designers add the notion of
sustainability to their list, affecting the way in which products, systems, and
communications are designed?
- How could we put together a critical mass
of successful case histories, that could serve as models to be adapted and
- What other strategies could be useful to
- What are the strategies that have been successfully implemented in
different contexts to make products, systems, and services, more compatible
with the idea of sustainability?
- What could be the role of communication design in this process?
We open this newsletter for contributions
that could initiate the exploration of possibilities, and meet the challenge
proposed by Changing the Change.