For all those who want to deal with or discuss issues of social sustainability.

The conference "Shaping Society! Social Sustainability through Design" focuses on hitherto neglected contexts of social sustainability and spans a wide range of topics such as anti-racism and decolonisation, gender justice and inclusion. All presentations are based on the question "Where is the German design industry today in processes of social sustainability?

A one-day conference gave an overview of design in these fields.

The event took place on 13 December 2022 at the Evangelische Akademie in Frankfurt am Main.

This was the programme (in German)

The issue

All-encompassing social sustainability can only be attained when ecological, economic, and social measures intermesh as factors of equal importance. The “Agenda 2030” formulated by the UN spells out further decisive universal principles calling for a just and sustainable life. The sustainable development of all these closely interconnected aspects is indispensable for a society fit to meet the challenges of the future.

Nearly all sectors meanwhile make use of initial design processes. Designers are being accorded key responsibility and a decisive influence in the shaping of a sustainable world of the future. The services and products they develop have a major impact on how we organize our lives and perceive our environment, how we participate in that environment, and whether we all have equal access to it. When the persons affected are not involved, and when certain needs are neglected in the planning process, it can lead to the exclusion of entire user groups. And where problematic symbols or emblems are used unreflectingly, prejudices and discrimination endure.

Discussions about a sustainable future often revolve around ecology and the economy, side-lining the social factor—along with considerations such as diversity, access, inclusion, equal opportunity, and cultural development. Yet social sustainability can only be achieved where, from the very start, the design process is conceived in terms of mutual respect and appreciation and a form of co-existence in which everyone belongs, in which outward appearances, language, physical/cognitive conditions, cultural origins, and gender play no role.

The aim of the conference is therefore to direct the focus towards this pillar of society, which is still all too often neglected, and to embrace a broad spectrum of topics such as antiracism, decolonialization, gender equality, and inclusion. The lectures will all address themselves to the question “Where does the German design industry stand in social sustainability processes today?” A one-day conference will provide an overview of design in these fields.



Prof. Dr. Tom Bieling

Professor for Design Theory HfG Offenbach

At the Centre for Design Research at HAW Hamburg (2019-2022) he represented the professorship for design theory and research, at HAWK Hildesheim he teaches design science, previously guest professorships at the University of Trento and GUC Cairo, as well as various teaching positions worldwide. At the Design Research Lab of the Berlin University of the Arts (2010-2019), he led the research cluster Social Design, among others. Previously research assistant at T-Labs / TU Berlin (2007-2010). He is co-editor of the book series Design Meanings (Mimesis), as well as the BIRD series (Birkhäuser/DeGruyter), part of the Board of International Research in Design, and initiator of . He is a co-founder of the Design Research Network and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft. He was elected Young Innovator of the Year by the Falling Walls Consortium. His award-winning work is exhibited worldwide. Books (selection): "Inclusion as Design - Participatory Research on, for and through Design" ( 2019), "Design (&) Activism" (2019) and "Gender (&) Design" (2020).

Topic: "Design as part of the solution and the problem."

Prof. Dr. Esin Bozyazi

Vice President of the Institute for Social Sustainability e.V., Professor (IU)

Esin Bozyazi is Professor for Sustainable Entrepreneurship at the IU-International University Erfurt, Vice President of the Institute for Social Sustainability and member of the supervisory board of the communication agency MDCT AG - Responsible for Social Sustainability (Human Relations). As a business designer and expert for innovation and sustainability, she advises companies and start-ups on sustainable and humane business practices at the Steinbeis Beratungszentrum Geschäftsmodelle der Zukunft (GMZ). Her latest book entitled "Social Sustainability and Digital Transformation: For a Successful, Sustainable and Human Business" was published in April 2022.

Topic: "Social sustainability and digital transformation"

Christine Fehrenbach

Designer and entrepreneur

Christine Fehrenbach. Consulting develops holistic creative strategies and accompanies companies and institutions through the entire transformation process from positioning to the implementation of communication, design, sustainable, circular products and their implementation. Her goal is to make companies fit for the future again in a world that is changing ever faster and becoming ever more complex, to give them a sense of purpose and to holistically strengthen the innovative power of the company. Christine Fehrenbach is also active as a jury member in various design and fashion competitions, speaker and lecturer for sustainable fashion and communication.

Topic: "Gender Design - the Next Future?"

Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas

Managing Partner, Creation | Graft Brandlab

Prof. Nikolaus Hafermaas is an internationally recognised designer, artist and educational pioneer. With the Berlin-based innovation agency Graft Brandlab, Mr Hafermaas and his team shape the relationship between groundbreaking technology and being human. As dean at the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he revolutionised the field of visual communication.

Topic: "Ey dude! Intergenerational design as cultural change."

Mathias Knigge

Owner Office for Inclusion & demographic solutions

Already in the sentha research project, Mathias Knigge investigated the needs of older users and the development of cross-generational solutions in the sense of Design for All / Universal Design. The engineer (TU Berlin) and product designer (Berlin University of the Arts) delved deeper into the topic and founded grauwert - Büro für Inklusion und demografiefeste Lösungen in Hamburg in 2004. Within this framework, he advises companies, supports product development, conducts product tests and analyses, and shares his knowledge through trainings, workshops as well as publications and lectures. He is chairman of the competence network EDAD (Design for All - Germany e.V.) and was a guest professor on the topic at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2013.

Topic: "Accessibility in Design for All - attractive added value instead of deficit-oriented special solutions"

Rolf Krämer

Hessian Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing

Rolf Krämer heads the Start-Ups, Cultural and Creative Industries Department at the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing.

Deborah Krieg

Education Officer of the Anne Frank Education Centre

Deborah Krieg is education officer at the Anne Frank Education Centre, specialising in historical political education as well as anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination in post-migrant society, curator of the interactive learning lab "Anne Frank. Tomorrow more" and was counsellor at response, the Hessian counselling centre for victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence.

Topic: "Racisms. Shapes. World."

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