Archiving Social Design

Boris Bandyopadhyay, Kai Rosenstein

For the social design archive workshop at the angewandte we questioned the design process and rethought the design portfolio concept. The major outcome was the problem of measuring information about social design activities. The most interesting topics to describe and archive social design were INTENTION, OUTCOME and IMPACT.

Following a short introduction of our intention to develop the social design archive, we continued with two inputs on different techniques of archival documentation in relation to social design and on searching and finding in the context of social media.

Here students started questioning the social design concept and asking for the boundaries between social design and commercial design, which is where we faced the problem: Social design is not only embedded in social contexts but it is done by people with totally different cultural and knowledge backgrounds. Often neither starters nor participants think that they have anything to do with a thing, strategy, attitude or impact named social design.

A simple but great sentence: THE ARCHIVE AS AN INTERFACE...between search and information: How does observation become specific knowledge and how does search become available knowledge?

But what if we have to first develop the way we gather information because it is not directly available or embedded in artifacts like tools which were used in social design projects? We linked this problem to our individual challenge of assembling our own design portfolio and stressed the idea of a design portfolio as an interface which only has value if it shows the interconnections and deep relations between our design projects. And as in the archive it is not the objective information that is of the greatest interest in terms of understanding projects and persons but the highly subjective and biased information, for in that you get someone to know about the magical three questions about a project or person: What was the INTENTION, OUTCOME the IMPACT?

We want to thank Brigitte Felderer and her inspiring team for inviting us and a great hug to all the participating students and their power and input which supported us in a beautiful return of inspiration.

Boris Bandyopadhyay
Kai Rosenstein
Social Design students