Reasons Not to Be Pretty:
Symposium on Design, Social Change
and the "Museum"
Curated by William Drenttel and Julie Lasky
Moderated by Allan Chochinov
Winterhouse Institute, the organization co-founded by William Drenttel, is hosting a Spring 2010 symposium at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in northern Italy, near Milan, that will bring together the world’s top design and museum curators, critics and organizers of successful exhibitions on design and social change. The goal is to foster collaboration and collective action among the participants to utilize the power of design to help solve large social problems, and to galvanize the global design community to engage in projects that promote social change. Museums, and similar institutions that exhibit and champion design innovation, are critical players in this global design community, and this gathering will be a first-time meeting of such players from around the world.
Reasons Not to Be Pretty: Symposium on Design, Social Change and the “Museum”
is scheduled for Monday evening, April 12, through Wednesday evening, April 14, 2010. (The timing and location is for the convenience of participants who plan to attend the International Furniture Fair in Milan, April 14–19.) Limited to 23 participants by invitation only, the symposium will include representatives from eleven countries, and a range of institutions and organizations: Art Institute of Chicago, Biennale de Dakar, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Core77, Design Indaba, Design Museum, Design Museum Holon, Design Observer, Doors of Perception, INDEX:, Brazilian Design Biennial, Museum of Arts and Design, Museum of Modern Art, Prince Claus Fund, Royal College of Art and Walker Art Center. A key aim of the symposium is to build partnerships between curators and participants who are knowledgeable and committed to social change as an exhibition subject.
The event will allow for direct, detailed exchanges on four themes:
- How to make a compelling presentation of design and social change, a topic that may be challenging and involve objects that may not meet the traditional standards of art and design institutions. Included will be discussion of the forms that the artifacts of social change take (interventions, campaigns, provocations, advocacy, activism), and how exhibiting these artifacts resembles and differs from the presentation of more conventional forms.
- How to acquire and preserve the contents of exhibitions on design and social change — both visual and nonvisual embodiments of ideas, initiatives and interventions. Here, there will be consideration of "exhibitions" beyond the museum, including those using technology and social media.
- How to extend the messages of such exhibitions to a variety of local venues and communities as well as to global audiences. Here we will discuss new opportunities for the museum environs, outreach programs, internet and education programs.
- Determining issues and themes that merit exploration for future exhibitions.
This symposium is a part of Winterhouse Institute's work funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the zone of design and social innovation. The symposium proceedings will be published on Change Observer
, the Rockefeller Foundation–funded website devoted to design and social innovation. Change Observer is a channel of Design Observer
, the critically acclaimed website focused on design and visual culture.
Confirmed Attendees (list in formation 04/08/10)
Jimena Acosta Romero
, independent curator and journalist, Mexico City
, senior curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York
, design director, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
, chief curator, Brazilian Design Biennial, São Paulo
, editor, Design Indaba, Cape Town
, former director, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
, partner, Core77, New York
, editorial director, Winterhouse Institute, Connecticut
, director, Design Museum Holon, Israel
, director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Initiatives,
Parsons The New School for Design, New York
, curator, INDEX:Award Exhibition, Copenhagen
, editor, Winterhouse Institute, New York
, director, Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art, London
, curator, Design Museum, London
, independent designer and educator, India
, creative director, Frog Design, Milan
, founder, Riverside School and Design for Change, Ahmedabad
, curator of socially responsible design, Cooper-Hewitt,
National Design Museum, New York
, founder, Doors of Perception, Netherlands and France
, rector, Royal College of Art, London
Els Van der Plas
, director, Prince Claus Fund for Culture
& Development, Amsterdam
, design consultant, curator and writer, London
acts as catalyst, coordinator and champion of an initiative in the public sphere to develop collective action and collaboration for social impact across the design industry; it also creates communication platforms for conferences and gatherings, including an editorial website to monitor and report on developments. Funding for this work is through the Rockefeller Foundation. William Drenttel directs the Winterhouse Institute and is editorial director of Design Observer.
, Winterhouse Institute
, Winterhouse Institute