In the years to come, I hope to remember 2014 as the year I started my life as a researcher. And what a way of kicking it off! I am an MA candidate in Design Management in Lancaster University, and as part of my major research project I was given the opportunity to attend the Proud Forum in Essen, Germany with the topic ‘Design for societal changes’. The one-day event gathered something around 140particiapants interested in the emerging reactions of design towards social challenges. The forum consisted in a set of very different and interesting keynotes that raised a lot of debate around the role of design in today’s shifting paradigms, and three choices of workshops for the afternoon.
In the keynotes, Dr. Mugendi’s examples on how design has transformed life in Cape Town, and Ad Van Berlo’s urge for designers to work with other disciplines and set aside arrogance to have a positive impact in the world were absolutely stimulating.
The workshop I chose to participate in ‘What is the effect of co-design?’ was closely related to my project’s topic and involved a dynamic discussion on where and why should co-design be used. It was surprising yet insightful to learn about examples of failed co-design projects and the challenge that represents working with public servants.
Finally, the chance of meeting and getting to chat with some of the main thinkers and practitioners who lead de discussion around co-design was with no doubt, one of the most inspiring things in this experience.