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Renny Ramakers

Imagination As A Catalyst For Social Change

Thursday at 7:30 p.m. - October 17, 2019
Sala Aleix Carrió / Students Room (streaming)

Past talk

Renny Ramakers is an Amsterdam based art historian. She is co-founder and director of Droog, the renowned experimental design initiative from the Netherlands. In 1993 she and Gijs Bakker started Droog as an anti-statement; a down to earth design mentality with a human touch that opposed the high style and form- based world of design.

Today, Ramakers' work often reaches beyond the realms of design. She created the research-and-do programme Design+Desires with the aim to develop new perspectives on a changing society. She is also working as an independent critic and curator, and lectures worldwide. She has curated various events, such as the huge presentation Open Borders in Lille, featuring cutting-edge European designers, artists, architects and other creative people, and Pioneers of Change, a festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture on New York’s Governors Island. Currently, she is curator of N’GOLÁ, the eighth Biennial of Arts and Culture in São Tomé e Príncipe in Africa. As a critic, she has contributed to international magazines and catalogues, and authored several books. A book about her life and work, written by Aaron Betsky, has been published early 2019. She was named one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World” by the American magazine Newsweek and received the Dutch Royal Honors for her work.

Imagination As A Catalyst For Social Change
The times, they are a changing and yes, they always have been. It is important to be sensitive to the spirit of the times. What is happening and where are we going to? How do we relate to the big transitions in our present world? How do we relate to developments such as digitalization, climate change, migration, urbanization and globalization? Do we approach the negative side of these developments merely as problems that have to be solved or can we also see them as opportunities, as a possibility for developing alternative perspectives, as a source of inspiration for discovering new paradigma’s in design? Is design just a problem solving practice or can we step beyond and use our imagination as a catalyst for social change? We have to transgress, to break down borders and cross boundaries. Opportunities and possibilities are found not only by considering one angle or the other, but by exploring the in-between.

And what about people? What are their opportunities in this process? Do we have respect for the existing, whether people, materials or situation? How do we look upon traditional values? Can we include tradition in our quest for innovation? Do we allow people in the design process? Are we inspired by their dreams and desires? Are we inspired by their diversity?

And keeping all this in mind, can we develop new perspectives, alternative approaches, set up new relations? It’s all about the power of imagination!