Designing for Collective Action

A comparative discussion about design and civic engagement in Philadelphia, Santiago, and beyond


Fields of Knowledge
  • Design
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

PennDesign, Slought

Contributing Institutions

Harvard GSD, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez Design Lab

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought and PennDesign are pleased to announce "Designing for Collective Action," a panel and workshop with Krzysztof Wodiczko, Sergio Araya, Orkan Telhan, Ken Lum and Aaron Levy on March 27, 2015 from 6-8pm.

The public domain is born each time that one individually or collectively exercises their civic rights in public by speaking up, resisting, seeking change or working towards transformative action. Historically, artists and designers have been instrumental in instigating, curating, or enabling such forms of collective action by mobilizing groups around shared interests. However, such collective actions run the risk today not of creating a sensation but rather of sensationalizing themselves, and in the process marginalizing greater awareness of the very issues at stake.

This conversation brings artists, designers, and scholars together to engage in a comparative analysis of recent collective actions in Santiago, Philadelphia, Istanbul, and beyond. Reflecting on the outcomes and shortcomings of these various actions, as well as individual experience and particular case studies, the conversation will interrogate what, fundamentally, it means to be engaged. How can artists and designers come together to create new public domains, both online and offline, through collective action?

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In conjunction with the conversation, Slought is pleased to announce "Design for Civic Engagement: Instruments of Expression, Dialogue, and Critique," a special workshop jointly organized by Krzysztof Wodiczko of Harvard GSD, Orkan Telhan from University of Pennsylvania, and Sergio Araya from Universidad Adolfo Ibañez.

This workshop is part of an ongoing series that seeks to construct a critical discourse and design environment in which to investigate how individuals and collectives can act during moments of exception, and amidst political distress and social unrest.

Previous meetings such as "Workshop I: From Individual to Collective" and "Workshop II: Individual & Collective's Relation to Public Space," were respectively held in Santiago, Chile and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

These gatherings have involved a variety of design activities that enable participants to identify critical ways they can support marginalized individuals and communities.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, Professor in Residence of Art, Design and the Public Domain, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Sergio Araya, Professor and Dean of School of Design at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile

Ken Lum, Professor and Director of Penn Fine Arts Undergraduate Program

Aaron Levy, Executive Director, Slought

Orkan Telhan, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Emergent Design Practices, Penn Design