During my final thesis research, I started exploring design-driven methodologies for developing audiences, from the traditional – going to a museum – to more hybrid forms of cultural participation. I came up with a framework for dialogic cultural participation, which states that it is necessary and positive that people have their say, but that sometimes there is a lack of guidance from cultural experts. There needs to be a balance.
The advantage of operating at a (service) design rather than arts marketing level, is that you get to reshape the cultural product at issue according to people’s interests, instead of trying to convince them of the value of that cultural product as it is. Approaching a cultural experience as a designer means reframing it, in a way that its intended audience finds meaningful.
Within Design for Sustainability and Social Innovation there is more and more talk about the need for eco-literacy: people have to became aware of the fragile world we live in and the importance of biodiversity, climate and so on. Regarding this, some experts are saying that rather than providing statistics and data, it would be more effective to engage people from an emotional point of view: only a restored form of love for nature would guarantee its preservation. I’d really like to contribute to this cause, which is hard in a market mostly looking for professionals interested in digitization or hi-tech innovation. I’ve come to realize that there are more urgent concerns.
Almost no profession is intrinsically anti-ecological. It is a matter of channelling that profession and its underlying passion, knowledge and skills towards a certain purpose. Everyone can do their part in saving our planet. Therefore, we should not just say that we need, for instance, engineers, but that we need engineers who care about our planet
‘The advantage of operating at a (service) design rather than arts marketing level, is that you get to reshape the cultural product at issue according to people’s interests’
The interaction at IDEA League was fascinating because you could really see quite different answers and reactions to the same problem or issue. We became aware of the value but also in a sense the cost of being diverse. You need to invest time and energy in finding a point of agreement and sometimes we engaged in quite interesting conversations with some tensions, relating to the different viewpoints that we were agreeing to. The format that IDEA League offered us was great because we could reflect on some transversal topics but we were also there to socialize and be exposed to people of different cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints. That was a crucial part of the whole experience. Some of us were planning to meet last year, but we had to postpone because of the pandemic.
I had my “green epiphany” last winter when we all went through the second round of Covid-related restrictions. I started reflecting on the meaning of what I was doing and on what was helping me find some balance. I happened to go by the sea quite often, just to walk and get some fresh air. It was quite personal at first. Then I realized how we are often absorbed by everyday commitments and we just undervaluesmall but powerfulthings such as spending some regenerating time in nature.