Time and again throughout history millions of people have been forced to leave their place of origin to find safety as the result of conflicts. Today, the European Union is facing the most severe refugee crisis since the Second World War, with over 60 million refugees or internally displaced people across the globe.
Migration is therefore at the top of the EU agenda. In this way, the Commission is working to implement the priority actions under the European Agenda for Migration. All the same time, a number of initiatives tackling the migration challenge are being implemented across Europe, such as the European Social Innovation Competition 2016, which aims to support the reception and integration of refugees and migrants in Europe, and a Creative Europe call for projects to support the integration of refugees.
The complexity of the task is undeniable. People are fleeing conflict, they are escaping from torture and persecution, leaving behind cities which have been razed to the ground. On arrival, migrants find collapsed reception systems, camps in wretched conditions and inadequate integration programmes. Both reception and integration are the main stages on which the EU need to focus.
Faced with this reality, the Design community has an enormous and creative problem solving potential to tackle the migration challenge. Designers from all sectors have the power to improve the reception and integration of refugees, looking for creative approaches that realise the potential of refugees and migrants, enabling them to contribute to the social, economic, cultural and political life of their host countries. Moreover, design can help societies adjust to new trends in the societal impact of migration. As a ‘game changer’ factor, design can also help policymakers to plan more effective migration policies and make a difference for refugees.
BEDA boasts 45 members from 25 countries in Europe. Those professional associations represent thousands of designers in every discipline of work. For this reason, the BEDA GA+ is an unparalleled opportunity to tackle the migration challenge using Design as an effective problem-solving approach. We are therefore delighted to announce that the ‘capacity building’ activities within the DE2021 project will include a workshop on what design can do. An expert facilitator whose profile combines a design background with a professional involvement in migration, is now preparing an exciting programme for us. The topic will be tackled under two approaches: design to help policymakers, and design based ideas to address migrants’ needs. This double approach will allow our members, professional associations and promotion centres, to work together exchanging knowledge and experience whilst inspiring each other in a creative synergy.
In the afternoon, members will participate in a matchmaking activity devoted to BEDA Clusters, whose moderator will have a high-level design profile. After formally presenting the programme to the audience, they will be given the opportunity to contribute to its final development by joining existing clusters or suggesting relevant design trends for new ones.
BEDA GA+ 2016 will be a breaking point for our organisation and for the Design community in Europe, a crossroad for the numerous actions in process. The BEDA Board are expecting your organisation to join us!