Design Project 4 – Design for Society

Design can actually make the world a better place. But when it comes to tackling complex societal issues with networks of stakeholders, how does it work in practice? This course challenges students to think about their role as designers and how they can contribute to effecting positive change in society.

Taking on societal issues is no easy task, but designers can make an impact. This course teaches core skills for how to use change-making as a driver for design activities.

Build an understanding of theories about complexity as you develop an academic design practice. Explore framing, working with a future vision and systems thinking. Consider your personal values, how you define a better world and reflect upon what position you want to take in this world.

Through challenge-based learning, delve into a societal issue, first with a single client and later with a network of stakeholders. Learn how to make change within such a complex system.

Actively engage in an exploratory learning process, realising that success is in the learning itself. Learn to be comfortable dealing with ambiguity, trusting that you can contribute even though you don’t necessarily know how. Build confidence to explore unknown territories. Find your personal compass, exploring how you as a designer can contribute to societal change.

Course Coordinators' perspectives

“I hope that students not only have the urge but also the capacity to take responsibility for the impact of design on society. That they see there is great power in engaging with design for societal issues, but they also know how to take responsibility and choose based on the values that they have.” – Nynke Tromp

Nynke Tromp & Mieke van der Bijl Brouwer

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