What Design Can Do
22 – 24 November 2017
The organisation What Design Can Do (WDCD) has set itself the goal of changing the world with design. With this in mind, they have organised conferences in Amsterdam since 2011 and in São Paulo since 2015, highlighting different design strategies for social change. The theme of the conferences in 2017 and 2018 is climate change and addresses the question of what design can do to stop it.
The issue of climate change is seen as a challenge by the organisation, so in May 2017 they called for a contest that encouraged participants to develop climate change mitigation strategies. From the 384 submissions, they selected 35 to be exhibited at the Dutch Design Week, with the winners being announced at the conference in São Paulo. The nominations range from concepts designed to reduce the amount of meat in existing recipes to bloggers and journalists, and drones distributing seed bombs.
The two-day conference consists of lectures and group work in seminars, workshops, discussions or exhibitions. The speakers include international designers and researchers. The organisation sees the role of design as contributing to strategic, creative thinking and creating designs for intangible products; it wants to motivate designers to come up with innovative visions and ideas and to help them achieve a more self-confident implementation of their projects. However, the structures in which designers can work in such fields don’t often exist in capitalist systems.
Ticket prices range between 200 and 680 Brazilian Real (about 50 to 180 euros). As partners, the Ikea Foundation, the Autodesk Foundation, Arjowiggins and Antalis support the organisation.