NORDES 20115: Design Ecologies: Challenging anthropocentrism in the design of sustainable futures (June 2015, Stockholm Sweden)
December 1, 2014 Leave a comment
Dates: 7-10 June 2015
Location: Konstfack – University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden
Deadline for submissions: 7 January 2015
Design hinges a natural-artificial continuum through humans’ natural capacity to produce what we call ‘the artificial’. At a time when human activity is threatening biodiversity and causing severe climate change, it becomes obvious that natural and artificial systems can no longer be conceived in isolation but only in relation to each other – or indeed as one.
The coupling of natural and artificial systems poses challenges due to its complexity and partly reveals the anthropocentrism that has traditionally characterised design. Several questions arise in this context. How can design practices embrace pluralism by recognising, in the manifestation of design itself, biological as well as cultural diversity? In other words, how do we in design, and beyond, move from the kind of ego-system we seem to be so trapped in towards the kind of eco-system everyone and everything can gain from? How are designers, educators and researchers of design currently engaging with these challenges, and how might or should they engage with them in the near future? Designers in Scandinavia have shaped and influenced many local human societies to an important extent through a legacy of democratic and user-centred values. How can these be extended to acknowledge and celebrate humans’ cohabitation on a global scale to also include the myriad of all other existing species and systems at alternative scales in time and space? How can the various design practices be genuinely sensitive to ecological complexity? And how can they be understood, designed and studied in relation to each other – or indeed as a whole?