Designers as Reporters

One week Investigation at HKU University of the Arts

where: HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht (NL)
when: 18.09.2017 — 22.09.2017
participants: 28 third year students

Within this one week workshop, we explored the role of designers in relation to current affairs. Why is it important to create socially or politically-engaged works? Which position can you take on a sensitive, critical and global issue? And most importantly, can these self-initiated works be part of discussions with a broader audience, than the artistic field?

The students were asked to investigate and re-narrate a selected news item in the form of a response. The outcomes were visuals columns in various formats, namely websites, campaigns, a series of illustrations, publications and video, with the aim to spark public discussion on a certain subject. Many of the outcomes produced by the students reflected the confusion of the current: the social, political, and ethical dilemmas in relation to consuming contemporary news. We are impressed with the quality of the produced outcomes that shows critical mentality along with the ability to develop meaningful works based on individual curiosities.

At the end of the workshop, participants are asked to cast their vote based on three criteria: the urgency of the theme of the work, the capacity that the work is widely spread, and the potential for the impact of the work. Three winning projects have been selected to be published: “Formation Consultancy” by Floris Versteeg, “Let’s talk about sex baby” by Robin Bosgra & Kaz Alferink and “2050” by Tamara van Latum.
We hereby thank HKU and Marijke Cobbenhagen for this opportunity, Heerko van der Kooij for the tutorial support, Wilbert van der Heijden for his journalistic commentary, and finally the participating students for their energy and enthusiasm.