Talk at DGTF Conference, Halle Burg Giebichenstein

At this year’s conference of the German Foundation for Design Theory and Research I was invited to speak about the projects I conducted with the University of Arts Berlin in Nairobi, Kenya. In my talk I presented theses and conclusions I draw from the experience of the collaborative work we did there to address a more contemporary, just and realistic approach towards international development and how design could actually contribute towards this change.

Field Research in Nairobi, Kenya

Starting in October, I will work much closer with the NGO Nyendo, who is supporting the Love School and 13 other privately run schools in the slums of Kangemi and Kawangware (CIFEFA network). I traveled to Kenya in late September/October to connect different initiatives with the CIFEFA schools: the Wajukuu Art Project in Lunga Lunga, the Kounkuey Design Initiative in Kibera and the FabLab GEARBOX in Nairobi.

Our vision is to establish an educational exchange program between designers, German pupils (grade 11) and the initiatives in Nairobi, which transfers both polytechnical know-how as well as tools to run self sustained food production. This work is part of my PhD research and will be developed throughout the next years. Together with the participants we came up with a name for our endeavor: INUKA SASA (rise now). 

Project Lead for Nyendo.Lernen NGO

Starting in October I will take over the project management for the work with the CIFEFA schools in Kangemi and Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. The cooperation will be run through Supernova Institute as one of our coop’s pilot projects, trying to build networks both in Nairobi and within Africa connecting people from similar projects. Our first attempt is to implement urban gardening structures in a big co-creation workshop in early 2018, that have beed designed by participants of the Regenerate! project during my professorship Berlin University of Arts. I am super happy to join the team and hopefully will be able to create resourceful synergies!

Supernova Institute – Empowering Healthy, Sustainable Communities through Design

We are happy and proud to have finally launched a first website for our quite ambitious project, that is supposed to bring together initiatives, people and projects to develop formats and methods for empowerment through making and design. If this resonates with you and you think you should be part of our institute, please get in touch!

REGENERATE ! – Fluid Community Food Systems. Interdisciplinary Project with Wajukuu Arts Project, Kenya and the Department of Architecture, UdK, Berlin

 „Cities have a crucial role to play as catalysts of the system change we need. They can embody a new story about development and progress in which the health of biodiversity, foodsheds and watersheds are key indicators of success. A city is most healthy as a meeting place for change agents, outliers, and shadow networks. The healthy city is about participation, not spectacle. Connecting is itself a form of innovation.“ John Thackara

By acknowledging the city as a living system where things grow organically, offering a new human centered fluidity, we will approach its territories as a fertile ground for community regeneration and a healthy (fair, resilient, circular, sustainable) local food system, while  understanding ourselves as agents of change by designing and producing genuine urban abundance.

This living city is already emerging with new kinds of infrastructures: food coops, collective urban gardening and farming, craft breweries etc. We will kick off the semester with a Berlin wide field research, exploring and identifying key elements for local food systems in a community context (production, transformation, distribution, consumption). We will visit and interview grass roots initiatives, start-ups, farmers, community gardens, local producers etc., cook and eat together, explore the different set-ups of community and share it all in a collective map, which will be the starting point for the semester project.

Inspired by emerging disciplines like permaculture, transition and regenerative design, the goal of this project is to experience a socially engaged design practice and to establish a systemic understanding of the topic by investigating different scenarios: we will work with an allotment garden and analyze its specific structures and rules and how these shape its community; we will explore the potential of the „house of statistics“ at Alexanderplatz, a building and space whose purpose still needs to be defined and we will address our thinking towards the very special constraints of the slums in Nairobi and its consequences for community purposes.

The systemic approach will allow us to think at different scales (Berlin/Nairobi) and help us to decolonize knowledge (and design) and to understand, how we can share knowledge and resources in fairer, healthier way.

We will approach these scenarios with questions like:
– How to propose new food products & service systems (PPS) that regenerate local economies as well as communities?
– How to use mobile & lean structures to establish resilient and circular food systems that will not be affected by politics, real estate speculation etc.?
– How to help people to take back the city by establishing shared food production/transformation/systems?

with Virginie Gailing, Prof. Markus Bader,St. Oberholz, KDI, Barefoot Solutions, NGO Nyendo, Edgeryders’ OpenVillage

get more information on the website

The Love School Project @ Republica!

While the exhibition of “The Love School Project” is still running, Antony and I will give a Talk at Republica in May, sharing our insights and plans for the future of the project. Looking forward to a big audience and great feedback!

further information

Berlin Design Digest – Essay & Project

To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of UNESCO naming Berlin a “City of Design”, the editors Robert Eysoldt, a strategic and creative consultant, and Raban Ruddigkeit, a designer and editor, have assembled 100 successful projects, products, and processes by 75 Berlin agencies, design labs, public initiatives, networks, and universities, which currently connect Berlin with the world in “The Berlin Design Digest”, published by Slanted.

I am very honored to not only present “The ShitShow”, one of 6 unconventional projects that were developed during the Hacking Utopia project at UdK, but also having been invited to write an essay about a topic I think to be relevant in the current design debate. The text reflects the contemporality of the ever so famous design thinking framework and demands for the design community to step up and reclaim their expertise, while adjusting the creative innovation processes to the current needs of a world in crisis, including self reflection, embodied cognition and focus on taboos – it’s about time to come clean.

Order the book here 

The Love School Project – Exhibition at Gallery 1.1. & Auction

THE LOVE SCHOOL PROJECT
co-creation and design for transformation

VERNISSAGE Thursday · May 4, 2017 · 7pm

EXHIBITION May 5 – 10, 2017

weekend 12pm – 7pm · weekdays 5pm – 9pm
Galerie erstererster · Pappelalle 69 · 10437 Berlin

AUCTION unitedcharity.de/Specials/The-Love-School-Project

PRESENTING Louis Bindernagel · Anna Drewes
Martin Fenske · Georgia von le Fort · Julius Führer
Dario Iannone · Antony Karori · Agnes Kelm
Yannik Rohloff · Anna Ryzhova · Pauline Schlautmann
& Kids from Love School · Kawangware · Nairobi · Kenya

SUPERVISION Prof. Susanne Stauch · Anna Badur
SUPPORT Antony Karori · NGO Nyendo · German Embassy

theloveschoolproject.cre8tives.org

Reflecting Research, DGTF conference at Bauhaus Dessau

Two days of various insights into design research methods and reflections on how design should and could position itself within the context of global challenges as a discipline embracing innovation and solution oriented quest were followed by a colloquium of one of the society’s themes “design promoviert”, where PhD-students and aspirants can present their topics and questions for high quality feedback. I did so and with my still very basic state of research and ideas actually initiated a new format to invite novices with the urge to do research into the arena of the academic research community. It was great to talk about my thoughts and receive very empathic and dedicated feedback. Definitely coming around again!

 

 

The Love School Project, BA design project, UdK, Berlin

Besides the financial support of the school in Nairobi, the goal of the project is diverse: it’s an experiment in co-creation as a new and empowering way to work together internationally, it will sensitize the students to see their work as a creative service in a client relationship and it offers the kids from the Love School Center the opportunity to participate in the purchase of the the grounds and thus support their feeling of self-efficacy. For all participants this project will be an inspiring, mind expanding experience.

With a focus on craft, material understanding and form development the project is dedicated to the number Pi = 3,14… The work will be mostly in porcelain and fine metals, wood and fabric are possible as well. Besides the design process the question of value of those materials, the necessity of new products and the relation to a global social context will be reflected. There is a cooperation with the „Love School Center“ in the Slum Kangemi in Nairobi, Kenya. Through the NGO „NYENDO“ we have the artist and a coordinator Anthony Karori on-site, who will work with the children around the topic of pi and will create drawings, collages, photographs etc. together. In exchange with the students from UdK these first interpretations will be taken up and developed further aesthetically, functionally and formally. The students will be in touch with the kids on a regular basis through skype and the finished design objects will be sold in an auction at the end of the semester. The revenue serves the purchase of land on which the Love School Center stands which is in danger of being cleared out due to speculation.

Concept & Supervision: GastProf. Susanne Stauch, IPP, ID2, UdK
Partner: Irmgard Wutte/ Nyendo NGO
Financial Support: Martin Bisicky & Dominik Becker

visit the website

Guest Professor at UdK Berlin

Starting in October I will hold a guest professorship at the University of Arts, Berlin. I am very much looking forward to this great opportunity and I am currently preparing the curriculum. This winter semester we will work at the PORCELAIN EVOLUTION LAB. For the summer semester 2016 I am  preparing a project in the area of social transformation. It is a huge coop. The students will work in interdisciplinary teams of product designers and social- and business communicaters, we work with StartNext, my friend Nadia El-Imam from Edgeryders who runs a research project on OpenCare and Ezio Manzini. The project will be accompanied by exhibitions and talks at Designtransfer. Check out the growing website around it here: HACKING UTOPIA.

The Politics of the Makers – Conference by DGTF at HFBK Hamburg

With my colleague Prof. Katja Thoring and some of the students of her “scientific publishing” class at the MAID program in Dessau we attended the conference at HBK Hamburg. One of my favourite talks was by Florian A. Schmidt, a former fellow student and co-contributor in our publication from 2010 “critical mass”. Not only because we are friends but because he was able to take the auditorium along in his narrative about the maker culture and the crowds, his talk left me with lively images and ideas. Equally rich was the journey by Florian Walzer through the development of the greek term “banaus” to the current understanding of a maker or crafts person. The greatest discovery for my own interest was Prof. Heidrun Allert from Kiel who was talking about pedagogy and design from a perspective of philosophy. She explained the definition of “double loop learning” and stuck in my mind with the sentence: to find oneself useful through making. There were plenty more talks from especially social science specialists that for my taste were a bit too abstract in the context of the theme, yet they all delivered very important statements and insights. Great conference with lots of learnings!

>> program Politik der Maker

Making Futures – Crafts and Design Conference in Plymouth

With a ferry the participants of the conference were brought to an estate outside town to attend the talks of designers and craftsmen from all over Europe at Mt. Edgcumbe House. They had several tracks so of course I couldn’t hear all of the talks, thus focused on the pedagogy track. I learned a lot about the current discourse in the field and realized, that not so much had happened since I was into the topic back in 2008/09. Happy to have met Tomas Diez who runs the FabLab in Barcelona and Camille Bosqué who works on her PhD about Hackerspaces. Amazing keynotes by Gareth Neil about his attempt to build non-carbon footprint furniture  and by  Jaideep Prabhu introducing the indian design approach “jugaad”.

>> Making Futures Conference

SHARiNG the CiTY – Social Community Building, Neukölln Berlin

As I was going to move to Schillerkiez in Neukölln, which is a hot spot of gentrification right next to the Tempelhof air field I very soon realized the intense atmosphere in the neighborhood. Being inspired by the meetings with the EdgeRyder’s community I decided to start a local initiative to find out what the neighborhood needs and wants. The first events we did were some meetings with people from a community building background where the major problem already became obvious. Nobody from the neighborhood turned up although I had spend several hours to walk around cafés, markets, the church, supermarket – you name it – to spread the word and invite people to come. As a local action we then spread the poster campaign by Litekultur around the neighborhood hoping to get in touch with curious people. Dead loss. I did apply for funding via Projekt Neue Nachbarschaft with the idea to make a book which presents the people and their initiatives especially through one of the things that connects us all: food. So it was supposed to become a Schillerkiez cooking book with personal stories and background information of the neighbors and their  effort to support the neighborhood. Unfortunately the project wasn’t selected for funding and I really hope to find other ways to support the approach of giving something back to the Kiez.

>> SHARiNGtheCiTY