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International Design Symposium in Cologne:
Grow | Degrow. Design between Excess and Calculus


On May 20, 2016, KISD – Köln International School of Design will host the interdisciplinary symposium “Grow | Degrow. Design between Excess and Calculus”. Scientists and designers will discuss the meaning of sustainability and post-growth economy from various perspectives and will elaborate on experimental design positions and speculative projects on how to deal with finite resources.

The economic immoderateness with its demand for increasing profits, and immense consumption leads to a tremendous ecological impact caused by high consumption of goods and resources– widely occurring without control, governance or taking into account long-term consequences. Regardless of climate change, shortage of fossil energy, demographic aging, and rationalizations in the service sector the logic of growth still appears to be attractive and without alternative. However, protests against the permanent demand for growth are getting louder. They are directed against the principle of persistent value increase, against the excess of mass consumption, against material waste, against environmental pollution. Numerous concepts and approaches offer promising perspectives on alternative forms for the current and future economy and its consumption of products, goods, fuels, and resources.

As a consequence, the quest(ion) for resolutions is no longer addressed to natural and technical sciences alone, but also encompasses all design, art, cultural, and creative disciplines. Which particular role can design play in this wide-ranging structural economic and societal shift? How can design be grasped and understood in the “age of Man” – the “Anthropocene”? In the course of globalization and digitization, the idea of a shrinking economy and “degrowth” has become increasingly urgent and severe. The question of how design can contribute to new outlines of society and cities is more pressing than ever.

What is a “re-design” of the correlation between raw material and product? Can design achieve temperance and moderation in growth processes or even some reversal or turnaround? Which new paradigms in the discipline of design are necessary for this?

On May 20, 2016, researchers from all disciplines, from design, art, architecture, culture, natural, technical, and social sciences will discuss how design can act as a medium of reflection and be an experimental ground for the development of a degrowing society.

May 20, 2016, from 09:15 am to 5:30 pm
KISD – Köln International School of Design, Ubierring 40, 50678 Köln
Concept and organization: Prof. Philipp Heidkamp, Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Oliver Köneke
All presentations are in English.

Further information about the programme and the registration you will find here.