Tongji DESIS lab, in collaboration with DESIS Network international coordination team, held an exhibition from October 9 to 27 at College of Design & Innovation, Tongji University, in Shanghai. The exhibition, curated by Eun Ji Cho at Tongji DESIS lab, aimed to present the DESIS map (www.desisnetwork.org/the-desis-map) in a tangible way, and also to give visibility to ‘emerging thematic areas’ identified in the DESIS map.

Following the structure of the DESIS map (7 ‘Themes for action’, and 10 ‘Themes for reflection’), 46 projects from DESIS labs around the world were exhibited. Each project was presented on a box (title, context, description, and design process of the project), and exhibited based on the structure of DESIS map. Projects that have in common in terms of ‘themes for action’ (e.g. Food, Caring, Making, Housing, Clothing, Place-making) were grouped spatially, while projects that have in common in terms of ‘themes for reflection’ (Product for social innovation, Service for social innovation, Infrastructuring, Digital social innovation, Income generation, Environmental concern, Co-design, Design performance, Scenario building, Design theory & practice) were grouped by color codes.

In this way, the exhibition guided visitors to explore a variety of design approaches dealing with a topic (e.g. product design, service design, scenario building for ‘caring’) by focusing on each spatial group representing a ‘theme for action’, and/or to explore similar design approaches found across different topics (e.g. ‘service design’ for place-making, for caring, for food) by following a color line representing a ‘theme for reflection’.

At the same time, the exhibition was designed to give visibility to ‘emerging thematic areas’ (Care exchanging, Place-making, Income generating) found among the projects of DESIS labs. As the size of each spatial group is defined by the number of projects belonging to the ‘theme for action’ that it represents, the emerging thematic areas (‘place-making’, and ‘caring’) were visually recognizable at the exhibition due to their spatial dominance. And, as each color represents one ‘theme for reflection’, the proportion of different colors at the exhibition space indicated emerging thematic areas (dominant colors were yellow representing ‘income generation’, blue representing ‘service design’ and green color representing ‘co-design’).

Tongji DESIS lab and DESIS Network international coordination team are planning to develop a ‘DESIS exhibition toolkit’ to make the exhibition easily replicable for other DESIS labs.