Photo above: Design for the Living World class with guests at the opening of In Solidarity exhibition at Muca Roma, Mexico City, 2017


Design for the Living World is a cross-disciplinary class on participatory practice at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. Marjetica Potrč and her students have developed their practice together since 2011. They work in long-term projects in local communities across the world, aiming to create schoolrooms for testing methods of self-organizing and solidarity. Therefore, the focus of the class is always on people, not objects or spatial designs.

The class views art and design as tools of cultural change toward a new social agreements on matters such as public space, citizenship or collective decision-making. The individual projects can take varying forms, but are based on the following steps:

  1. Before arriving, students research without forming concrete ideas.
  2. After arriving, they first get to know the community through spending time with people and sharing experiences.
  3. Based on what they encounter, students and residents develop ideas (often for transforming a space) together.
  4. Together, students and residents take action and new social relations form.
  5. A project is successful when the community assumes control of the situation and the class becomes irrelevant.

Design for the Living World class is nominated for the Visible Project Award 2017.

Department of Design, HFBK

The Hochschule für bildende Künste/HFBK, the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg

All visual material is copyright © of Design for the Living World, HFBK.