Enabling collaborations between actors for mutual support and for delivering societal benefit

Projects that organise interpersonal encounters to enable other projects and activities to happen. Some of these projects operate new interactions between those working in the same field or issue. Conviviality can be a qualitative orientation of these projects: “the word ‘convivial’ has an immediate appeal for many educators and animateurs in that in everyday usage it looks to the liveliness and being social (enjoying people’s company)” (Smith, 2009).

Proposed projects

  1. Project DESIAP – Design & Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific Network (UK – Northumbria University – nDESIS Lab and Australia – RMIT DESIS Lab Melbourne) (the network enable researchers and practitioners in the region to experience mutual learning for collective capacity building in design and social innovation (D&SI))
  2. Project TeleStroke Distribution Network: Dissemination and Sustainability of Social Innovation (Brasil – UNISINOS – DESIS Lab) (a Telemedicine platform to connect doctors and peripheral hospitals with Stroke Network’s neurologists and neurosurgeons generating knowledge exchange, learning and a more human and on time assistance)
  3. Burial Societies: Informal Life Policy (Botswana – University of Botswana DESIS Lab) (co-creation of system to enhance the operation of Burial Societies: poor and unemployed families who live in rural areas families in rural areas form these societies and, by contributing a small token every month, help mitigate the high cost of funerals)

Type of project

A community has to be nurtured. For it to take concrete form, there is the need to design “convivial institutions to sustain and express its presence. Communities characterised by dialogue and relation require particular types of institution. Such institutions need to be dialogical, just and allow room for growth and exploration”. Conviviality may be concerned with individual interaction, but authors as “Ivan Illich was also interested in institutions and ‘tools’ – physical devices, mental constructs and social forms. He argued for the creation of convivial, rather than manipulative institutions and saw conviviality as designating the opposite of industrial productivity” (Smith, 2009). Illich adds that ‘a “convivial” society is one in which people control the tools (Illich, 1973).

Open questions

  1. How can we design networks or institutions that are collaborative but also convivial?
  2. How can we design solutions that serve politically interrelated individuals rather than managers (Illich 1973)?