EU Design Days 2020

The EU Design Days, organised each year by the ERRIN – European Regions Research And Innovation Network in Brussels, this year took place in the virtual space and were dedicated to the theme of social design and civic engagement. Two round tables and two workshops took place on Tuesday 25 November 2020.

The presentation by Isabelle Vérilhac, Director of International Affairs and Innovation at the Cité du design, showcased the co-creation practices in the activities of the Cité du design and the Higher School of Art and Design of Saint-Etienne.

– Social design through education
At the Higher School of Art and Design of Saint-Etienne, the social design is taught and practised throughout the course. The teaching confronts students to the social challenges, in particular through participative workshops.

– Experimentations with the public
Experimentation with users is at the heart of the methodologies of the Cité du design. Observations of usage (LUPI®), co-creation workshops and test laboratories (Les Labos®) allow the inhabitants to co-create with designers. Saint-Etienne, UNESCO creative city of design, implicates local actors in co-creation of public spaces and services:

– The Human Cities project questioned the urban scales. Saint-Etienne stands out as a creative lab, where designers develop actions and methodologies with the inhabitants to transform the city.

– During the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2017, under the theme Working promise, we worked on re-investing the city’s vacant spaces. The Cité du design led experimentations on a complete street, Rue de la République, in order to find activities to fill the empty premises. Some of those activities continued even after the end of the Biennale.

– Co-creation in exhibitions
Social design and participative tools are practiced in the preparation of the events, and in particular in the framework of the Biennale Internationale Design Saint Etienne, since 1998.

In 2008, the City Eco Lab project, curated by John Thackara, aimed to recreate a green and autonomous city by working with associations a few months before the Biennial. The XII edition of the Biennale that will take place from 28 April till 22 August under the theme of Bifurcations will propose a reflection upon the new way of life that meets environmental, societal and economic challenges.