Carla Cipolla

The DESIS Talks aims to discuss and define joint initiatives to be developed by DESIS members. The first two conversations took place through an online system (18 and 20 October) in two different time zones to allow – as much as possible – to set a feasible agenda for all DESIS Lab locations (not easy!).

It was the first time that DESIS Network members are invited to take part in these online talks.  The talks gathered 19 Lab members from Australia, UK, Italy, Denmark, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Ghana, Brazil, USA, Sweden, Colombia. It was considered a successful initiative, considering the number of the DESIS Labs involved and all possible communication problems it could involve.

The conversations were introduced by Ezio (DESIS president) and Carla (DESIS International Coordinator, IC). Carla synthetized one of the main aims of the current IC program, i.e., to collect, to interpret and to organize the production of the DESIS Labs, both for DESIS members and for external actors.

Both presented a new initiative called Thematic Areas (TA) which are lighter initiatives than the Thematic Clusters (TC) and aim to gather and present the knowledge of DESIS network about specific issues.  The TAs are considered “lighter” because it involved the production of lighter publications, that could assume the format of “booklets” for easier production and online distribution.

Three initial TA were presented, that were identified in the DESIS Map, a Map that comprehensively describes and organizes the knowledge produced in the network, based on the projects sent by DESIS Labs on 2014.  The areas are the following:

– Care exchanging.

– Place making

– Income generation/entrepreneurship

After this introduction, participants were invited to discuss the idea. Participants confirmed the idea of developing the TAs, and some issues were raised and ideas defined:

–       It was argued that the DESIS Map uses mainly the project sent by DESIS Labs in 2014 and, for this reason, the TAs identified do not represent anymore the current projects under development by the DESIS Labs.  However, the three thematic areas were considered also representative of the project usually developed by the DESIS Labs and therefore can be a good starting point for the work in the Thematic Areas.

–       The importance to open a call for participation for each TA was highlighted.  The Coordinator ensured that calls will be opened to cover two TAs in the DESIS Map (for now named as “place making” and “care exchange”). The process will start by calling the DESIS Labs and projects that have been clustered in each of these areas, when the DESIS Map was produced.

–       It was suggested that it would be important to fine tune the terms used to describe the TAs, also even only in their title and description.  It was argued that this can be done by the DESIS Members gathered in each specific Area.

–   The target public for the booklets was discussed and the importance of increasing the interaction and mutual knowledge between the labs was recognized. Therefore, the booklets will focus on design researchers, mainly in the DESIS Labs, but the editorial process could include external actors to comment the projects.

One of the most important results of the DESIS Talks was also to strengthen the interactions between DESIS members by using online communication tools to discuss a DESIS initiative. DESIS members are invited to define and lead other Thematic Areas (to be submitted to the IC, for coordinating purposes).