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designBRICS – A global design network addressing climate change

Type of project

About the project

The designBRICS project is a platform for a lean network of different design institutes in BRICS countries and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). The BRICS are represented by the design departments at Hunan University (HNU) in China and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in South Africa.

What brings these three together is a profound belief that the single most urgent issue for designers to work with today – and unfortunately also tomorrow – are ways to address Climate Change on a local and global scale. In order to achieve substantial impact, the project assumes that two things are crucial:

(i) a new kind of dialogue between the, so called, “developed Global North” and the “developing Global South”; and

(ii) a new design education that moves its current focus from designing for societies in affluence that believe they can afford increased ‘standard of living’ that’s primarily based on consumption, to a more realistic one that rather focus on ‘quality of life’.

The project therefore attempts to jointly develop three course modules for design students that can be scaled up and spread within and beyond the participating partners. The courses are coined: design4Futures, design4Manufacturing and design4Ecology. They are all based on new or revitalised design approaches enabling us to discuss possible futures beyond next product release, ways to make manufacturing more local and on demand and, finally, understand humanity as a part of an ecology we all depend on.