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  • by Anna Meroni
    Dear all, it’s a great pleasure to announce that DESIS has now become a cultural association, within the meaning of Art. 36 Italian Civil Code. The Art.1 of our new Statute affirms that our purpose “is to promote design for social innovation in higher education institutions with design discipline so as to generate useful design knowledge and to create meaningful social changes in collaboration with other stakeholders. The Association pursues its purpose by supporting the scientific research in the field of the design fostering and maintaining the exchange of scientific information and views among the members and with other institutions, exchange of scientists, promotion of young scientists (doctoral students) and use of existing research infrastructures.

  • by Ezio Manzini
    The notion of design for social innovation is frequently considered similar, if not coincident, with the one of social design. In my view, to do that is an error: the two expressions refer to different activities and have very different implications. The problem begins with the double meaning commonly attributed to the adjective “social”. One of them, that is also the one used in the expression design for social innovation, indicates that we refer to something concerning social forms. That is, concerning the way in which a society is built. The other one, instead, indicates the existence of particularly problematic situations (such as extreme poverty, illness or exclusion, and circumstances after catastrophic events) to which both the market and the state fail in finding solutions. In other words, when used in this way, “social” becomes a synonym for “very problematic condition”, which poses (or should pose) the need for urgent intervention, outside normal market or public service modalities. It is with this meaning that this adjective made its entrance into the design debate several decades ago, generating the expression: social design.

5th China Conference on CSA and Organic Farming New Three Dimensional Rural Issues - Big Design

The Fifth National Exchange Forum on Community Supported Agriculture will focus on “Cross Discipline, Multiply and Innovation” in facing the new task of CSA and the new context of the society. Three Dimensional Rural Issues (agricultural land, farmers, agro-industry) will be explored in depth from the perspective of technology, culture, creative design, platform building, and new source of financing etc. The new ‘Three Dimensional Rural Issues” perspective coupled with Big Design is going to bring vitality to traditional agriculture. This is the thematic challenge od the conference that will be host by Tongji University from November 1st to 3rd. The conference is an important and large appointment for the Chinese communities and the pioneer in the reflection and practice of Sustanability inspired ways to agriculture, and its social implication. The conference is composed of keynote speeches, parallel forums, in-depth forums, open forum, summit forum and theme visits. This year, a particular interest is given to the multidisciplinary approach to agriculture, and within the conference there are two panels mainly design (and DESIS) oriented.

DESIS Seminar 2013 “New Challenge, New Quality, New Action”

In the framework of Tongji Design Week initiatives the College of Design&Innovation announces the 2013 edition DESIS Seminar, as specific discussion forum on the thematic cluster Rural-Urban China, and a joint event with the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Conference (link), hosted in November 2013 at Tongji University.

DESIS Symposium 2013 “The Chinese View of Sustainable Qualities”

The third DESIS Symposium in Wuxi, Jiangnan University, represents a yearly appointment for the Chinese academic and practitioners community to develop deeper insights and concrete project-based discussion on the issues of Social Innovation; in particular, we aim to take into account the specific approach and challenges that emerge from the Chinese cultural context. We positively observed a rising interest in recent years, whilst lots still need to be explored not only as a comparison and exchange at the international level, but mostly towards the definition of a local-based and cultural-based definition of Social Innovation in China.

Seminar: Infrastructuring the Commons? Helsinki. November 7, 2013

We are cordially inviting all member so DESIS Network to attend of follow the Seminar: Infrastructuring the Commons?

The seminar will take place Thursday 7th of November starting at 9 am. The event is free and open to all, there is a call for contributions for thematic sessions in the afternoon. Welcome!

Sustainability Science Fellowships at Harvard University: Doctoral, Post-doctoral, and Mid-career Fellowships

The Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University invites applications for resident fellowships in sustainability science for the academic year beginning in September 2014. The fellowship competition is open to advanced doctoral and post-doctoral students, and to mid-career professionals engaged in research or practice to facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions that promote sustainable development. Due date for applications: January 15, 2014.


The full series of open lectures are available at DESIS Public & Collaborative initiative website ( 

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