In the face of current environmental, economic and social challenges, what kind of conversations, responses and interventions can designers offer? What skills do designers need to develop in order to best respond to these challenges, and what new approaches, behaviours, pedagogies and places are emerging to address these?
In June 2012, practitioners engaged in ‘alternative’ design practices came together to discuss these questions with students, architects, designers and educators at Edinburgh College of Art. In turn, this led to the development of the Designing Alternatives project and the successful piloting of live community projects as part of Innovative Learning Week at the University of Edinburgh.
Find out more about the symposium in our booklet, Designing Alternatives: A Symposium of Contemporary Radical Design Practice
Designing Alternatives seeks to introduce students to forms of design practice that stand self-consciously outside the mainstream of creating commodities for mass production and consumption.
Imbued in a real life project, students are given the opportunity to contribute toward the development of their local community as they explore sustainable and ethical design practices and relevant issues. At the same time, they enhance their own understanding of the designer’s role in today’s society.