Fifty recent initiatives designed to improve the temporary situations faced by refugees will be part of an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum and Lola Lik in Amsterdam from 20 May till 3 September. WDCD Live guests can opt for a special breakfast tour by curators Ingeborg de Roode and Jeannete Bisschops on 24 May.

The exhibition ‘Solution or Utopia?’ includes a number of projects that were submitted for last year’s WDCD Refugee Challenge. This contest, organised by WDCD in partnership with UNHCR and the IKEA Foundation, encouraged designers to come up with proposals aimed at improving the reception and integration of refugees.

Platform for discussion

The Stedelijk is mounting this presentation to create a platform to discuss how designers, architects and companies can have a meaningful impact on the lives of refugees. What works and what doesn’t?

Does a design offer a feasible, workable solution, or is it a far-off utopian dream? Is it useful to focus on refugees as a separate group? Do some designs (such as a sticker with ‘Refugees Welcome’) stigmatise or welcome? Is the western perspective of some designers a help or hindrance? Are refugees’ real needs actually addressed?

Exhibition at two locations

The exhibition Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees will take place at two locations: aside from the Stedelijk, part of the presentation will be on view at Lola Lik, a creative hub situated near the asylum seekers centre in the former Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam. On show at this location are projects that are made in cooperation with refugees, like the furniture by Cucula.

The Stedelijk Museum is collaborating on the project with Refugee Company, which is based at Lola Lik. Two Syrian architects, Mary Farwy and Michael Barchini, designed the exhibition.

Public program

Sunday seminar, May 21, 2017
Solution or Utopia? Design for refugees
15-16.30 hrs
Language: English
Location: Stedelijk Museum

On Sunday May 21, from 15.00-16.30 hrs. the Stedelijk presents a Sunday Seminar about this theme in cooperation with What Design Can Do. During this Sunday Seminar several topics from the exhibition will be highlighted by means of lectures and a discussion. Invited guest speakers are designers and art professionals who have been dealing with issues regarding refugees in the past recent years.
More info & tickets

Breakfast & Exhibition Tour, May 24, 2017
9-10 hrs
Language: English
Location: Stedelijk Museum

The Breakfast & Exhibition Tour is specially organized for a limited group of WDCD attendants. Before opening hours, Stedelijk Museum invites you to a small breakfast and a private tour through the exhibition by curator Ingeborg de Roode. Transportation to the conference not included.
Tickets can be obtained with your WDCD ticket through our ticket shop

Gallery talk, May 31, 2017
Jeanette Bisschops on Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees
Location: Exhibition galleries
More information

Gallery talk, June 14, 2017
16-17 hrs
Ingeborg de Roode on Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees
Location: Exhibition galleries
More information


Top image: Refugee Nation Flag, designed by Yara Said (Foto: Angela Luna)

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