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Embassy of Inclusive Society

Design Anthropology in context of social issues

How to work towards an inclusive society using participatory design and art methods?

Artist and design anthropologist Tina Lenz — © Valerie Spanjers, Bureau Ruimtekoers

Design Anthropology in context of social issues is an installation and workshop that invites both policy makers to experience design anthropology as a new method for inclusive citizen participation, and designers and artists to learn more about tools for participatory art and design.

Design Anthropology in the context of social issues

Design Anthropology is a fast-developing academic and design field that combines elements from design and anthropology. For Bureau Ruimtekoers, Design Anthropology is a participatory and social design approach that enables engagement with communities, social issues and (future) policies. Secondly, Design Anthropology gives Bureau Ruimtekoers an artistic framework for participatory art projects.

As a result residents or participants who were previously not reached by policy makers are now long-term involved and their voice and identities are heard in policymaking. And secondly, these new communities that consist of artists, residents and policymakers present new out-of-the-box perspectives as a contribution for solving social issues.

Design Anthropology as a participatory and social design approach and artistic framework

Based on the principles of Design Anthropology Bureau Ruimtekoers designed a five step design process for inclusive citizen participation and participatory art.

In the first phases, the design anthropologist applies anthropological methods to map multiple aspects in the daily lives of communities, such as symbols and rituals. Together with the community, the design anthropologist creates a deeper understanding of the values, perspectives and (latent) needs at play. It’s about defining the (in)visible status quo: how human values and things are now and how the participants can make these apparent in the coming phases.

Afterwards they invite the community and policy makers to co-design and create a tangible and artistic future scenario for their values ​​in relation to social issues that they experience in their living environment.

And that’s about exploring, defining and working towards a collective future: how human values and things could be. Afterwards, the (temporary) community translates the artistic outcomes or even participatory art pieces like a theatre show or art in public space into a set of recommendations for policy makers on how to solve the social issues together.

Exposition and workshop

Design Anthropology in the context of social issues is an expo and installation that invites on the one hand policy makers to experience design anthropology as a new method for inclusive citizen participation, and on the other designers and artists to learn more about tools for participatory art and design with and for communities.

Artist and design anthropologist Tina Lenz will host a workshop on October 26th.

About Yosser Dekker

Bureau Ruimtekoers is an agency for participatory design and community arts based in Arnhem, Netherlands. Lead designer Yosser Dekker (1987) and a team of designers, anthropologists and producers contribute together with residents artists and policy makers to equal solutions for local social issues.

Participant of Zonnestof, Ursila — © Valerie Spanjers, Bureau Ruimtekoers

Participant of Iedereen Wordt Mens, Joyce — © Cecile Bok, Bureau Ruimtekoers

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