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(Archive) Embassy of Safety

This project was part of DDW 2022
Ontwapens — © SMELT

The Embassy of Safety has the ambition to make society safer by deploying designers. This is driven by the major security challenges of our time, such as online crime, subversion and polarisation.

We create trust, and trust makers

This year the Embassy is focusing on the theme ‘Trust’. Trust is important for our well-being. Mutual trust is an important building block for social cohesion in society. It makes for better cooperation and increases willingness to help others. However, unfortunately, countless painful examples show that trust in fellow human beings and institutions is under pressure. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have made painfully clear the risks of spreading disinformation online. We have also seen confidence in politics in the Netherlands fall due to the difficult cabinet formation and the childcare benefit scandal.

Creative makership

For current security challenges – such as subversion, online security and polarization – trust is the key to change. Designers play an essential role in this. They put urgent topics on the agenda to increase awareness of security risks, conduct empathetic research and are open to people’s subjective experiences. A sense of security and trust depends on who you are, and what experiences and values you have. A different approach to an issue requires a fundamentally different view, thinking and action by those involved. Designers make new proposals for this that fit in with a specific context and with what those involved consider important. They design action perspectives that show how everyone can relate to the issue and test this. At the Embassy of Safety, we believe that change in people, based on ownership of an issue, must take place and can lead to systemic change. We are the system.

The Embassy of Safety is a journey of discovery to make the Netherlands safer as its basic premise. Our efforts to achieve this include starting Embassy Labs, where we work on themes such as undermining and combatting ‘young influx’: how do we protect young people against serious crime?

The mission of the Embassy is to find new behaviour and new relationships that contribute to this. Our compass is increasing trust. The destination (and certainly also the moment of reaching it) is unknown. But with the right course and a sharp eye, we recognize quality and unforeseen value creation when it presents itself. We are looking for as many travel companions as possible. Will you join us?