Papanek Symposium 2019

A symposium that investigates design’s inherent tensions in the context of rising global far-right populism and the asphyxiating manipulation of information.


Decolonising Design Group was founded in 2016 by eight design researchers, artists, and activists stemming from or with ties to the Global South, as a response to Euro- and Anglocentric socio-technical politics and pedagogies of design as both a field of research and praxis.
From September 26, 2019 until September 27, 2019
Design is in crisis: Or, at the very least, in massive transition, exploring and rediscovering its potential during deeply problematic times. Real World: Design, Politics, Future the Papanek Symposium 2019, investigates design’s inherent tensions in the context of rising global far-right populism and the asphyxiating manipulation of information in a post-truth era. What potential is there for envisaging alternative political futures, and what role might design, and its politics, have in contributing to those futures? Strands of contemporary design practice proffer a critical, and often apocalyptic and dystopic vision of the future, while others happily conform to a financial system that demands a new consumable product for each and every multifarious context. The stakes for design have never been higher, as its interventions are dispersed across all aspects of the informational, virtual and material strata that shape our real worlds.
The Papanek Symposium 2019, organised by Alison J. Clarke and Francisco Laranjo in partnership with the Porto Design Biennale, debates both the future, and the future of design: the places, ideas and means by which the politics of design, and the design of politics come together. Speakers include Ramia Mazé, Flavia Dzodan, Akwugo Emejulu, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Ahmed Ansari, Cameron Tonkinwise and Annelys de Vet. A series of workshops and open forums will be led by the Decolonising Design Group.
Biblioteca Municipal Almeida Garrett, Porto, Portugal.
26-27 September, 2019
Annelys de Vet is a Belgium based Dutch designer, curator and initiator.
Ahmed Ansari is a doctoral candidate and lecturer in Design Studies at Carnegie Mellon University.
Natsai Audrey Chieza is a designer, change-maker, and TED speaker working at the intersection of creative and biotechnology industries.
Sasha Costanza-Chock (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT.
Flavia Dzodan is a writer, media analyst and cultural critic based in Amsterdam. She is a lecturer and research fellow at the Critical Studies department at the Sandberg Institute.
Ramia Mazé specializes in participatory and critical practices of design. She is Professor of New Frontiers in Design at Aalto University in Finland.
Akwugo Emejulu is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick.
Cameron Tonkinwise is the Director of the Design Innovation Research Centre at the University of Technology Sydney.