In a time of mounting climate anxiety and deepening social crises, what can designers do to contribute to a brighter future? ​​At the upcoming WDCD Live in Amsterdam, a daring crowd of creatives will meet to explore the responsibilities of design in this critical decade. In a range of interactive breakout sessions, visitors will have the chance to deepen their activism and learn from creative visionaries working in the field of social and environmental justice. If you’re looking for ways to transform your practice, here are four workshops and exhibitions to add to your agenda on 3 June 2022.

Manifesto for Changemakers

A crash course in crafting your vision

What it’s all about: Canadian designer Bruce Mau knows that the success of any daring enterprise starts with the ability to communicate your vision in a compelling way. Through a career spanning more than three decades, Mau has evolved an influential design practice based on empathy for all of life on the planet, and not just humans. Taking inspiration from his principles for designing Massive Change (MC24), Mau will guide you through the key ingredients of writing a great manifesto for you or your company.

What’s in it for you: As creative professionals, it can be hard to align your personal principles with your professional practice. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn to define your purpose—and put it on paper—with the help of one of the world’s leading creative optimists.

Gender, Design & Power

A conversation about designing beyond the binary

What it’s all about: Design has the power to shape social narratives, making it a useful tool for those seeking to advance gender equality. However, we also have to acknowledge that design is often practised in a biased environment—and that there is always a risk of reproducing inequalities for women (including trans women), trans men and gender-diverse people. In this session, we’ll explore ways to navigate such harmful ideas and systems, through conversation and the art of zine-making.

What’s in it for you: Participants will have the chance to exchange ideas with creative activists like Ammara Jabbar (PK), Adebayo Oke-Lawal (NG), Bappie Kortram (NL) and Pussypedia founders Maria Conejo (MX) and Zoe Mendelson (US). Highly recommended for anyone looking to better understand gender bias, and look at design through a feminist and intersectional lens. 

Decolonising Design

A conversation about rethinking your practice

What it’s all about: To date, the mainstream design discourse has been dominated by Anglocentric and Eurocentric ways of seeing, knowing, and acting in the world—influencing the way we design our products, spaces, and systems. What happened to designing for all? In this session, we will deconstruct these ways of thinking, and examine how colonial histories have affected our work, our values and our education.

What’s in it for you: To change our industry for the better, it’s important to acknowledge that it exists in a complex and deeply flawed system. But up until now, discussions about decolonising design have largely taken place in the context of academia and art. In this interactive session, we’ll expand the conversation together with multiple creatives like Lelani Lewis (UK), Cengiz Mengüç (NL), and Setareh Noorani (NL), to share ways that you can integrate the process of decoloniality into your everyday practice.

Posters Can Help Exhibition

In times of crisis, what is a designer’s work really good for?

What it’s all about: WDCD Live Amsterdam 2022 will also present two specially curated exhibitions of design in action. In the common spaces of the Internationaal Theater, visitors will be able to interact with Posters Can Help, an installation exploring the links between graphic design, war and peace. Organised in collaboration with Slanted, Posters Can Help will showcase a selection of artwork donated by creators around the world in response to the Russian war in Ukraine. 

What’s in it for you: Part fundraiser and part exhibition, this project is all about sharing visual messages of solidarity, expressions of hope and calls for unity. Visitors are invited to participate by contributing their own poster, graphic design, artwork, illustration or photo. All submissions to Posters Can Help will eventually be included in a book, with proceeds going directly to humanitarian organisations working in areas of conflict.

Want to see what else is in the programme for WDCD Live Amsterdam 2022? Click here to learn more about the festival and visit our ticket shop.

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