Time for democratic design experiments?

27 October 2017


KADK, School of Design, Copenhagen


A seminar organized by:
Pelle Ehn (Malmö University), Per-Anders Hillgren (Malmö University), Anna Seravalli (Malmö University), Alicia Smedberg (Malmö University), Peter Munthe Kaas (Ålborg University), Ann Light (University of Sussex), Sissel Olander (KADK), Li Jönsson (KADK), Mette Agger Eriksen (KADK), Maria Foverskov (KADK), Paya Hauch Fenger,(KADK), Joachim Halse (KADK), Eva Brandt (KADK), Thomas Binder (KADK).

Event  overview:
Over the last decades design has increasingly engaged with complex social issues, with the ambition to expand citizen participation and make more voices heard in a move towards socially and environmentally sustainable futures. We have argued that such engagements must take the form of open ended experiments and also that design collaborations must nurture a willingness to embrace agonistic spaces of conflict and dissent.

Alongside with this growing engagement with social design and design activism we are also witnessing democratic institutions and citizen’s rights being challenged in many countries around the world. This has led to an urge also among designers to defend democracy. In the design research environment in Copenhagen and Malmö we also want to follow this call by inviting to a discussion about design and participation in the light of the current threats towards democracy.

We invite everyone who are interested in democratic design experiments to join us for an afternoon seminar, on Friday, October 27 from 14-17 at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design (KADK), Fabrikmestervej 6, 1435 Copenhagen K, Building 90, room 90.2.01.

At the seminar Pelle Ehn and Per-Anders Hillgren from Malmö University will open the discussion by looking back at more than a decade of design experiments in democratic participation and Anna Seravalli will share her work with Returen in Malmø as attempts of co-production.

Peter Munthe-Kaas from Aalborg University and Ann Light from University of Sussex will critically discuss how open design experiments may or may not connect to strategies of planning and to wider political agendas and Sissel Olander from KADK will share her work with the new library in Tingbjerg where top-down and bottom up initiatives for neighborhood renewal and citizen participation blend in ways that are not always straight forward.

The seminar will be an open forum where everyone is encouraged to participate and share experiences, positions and points of view in how design may stand up for democracy and how democratic design experiments may (or may not) be part of this. We encourage all participants to consider sharing their views through providing us as organizers with a short statement to be developed further at the seminar.