2018 Special Focus: No Boundaries Design

We’re living in a complex world where any old certainties, beliefs, and systems of knowledge are losing value and authority. Today many traditional boundaries between people, things, ideas, as well as places, seem to be collapsing in the face of new forces of technological, political, social and cultural evolution. Often it seems that we are losing our awareness of what could be our future and our role and responsibility to participate in its building. What will be our identities, needs, or expectations?

Design stands in between such new material and immaterial relations. Designers can play a unique role in answering these questions by facilitating debate, reflection, and transformative actions. Designers always assume a social and a political role, by defining our material world. Nowadays this seems to be a key responsibility: combining new knowledge, critical thinking, as well as consciousness and creativity to transform large scale issues on the basis of the real needs of the community – which is where human life happens.

In general terms, this means to work in ways that overpass any established boundaries between cultures, disciplines, social rules and political places. “No Boundaries Design” is the new challenge. Where and how do we implicitly construct boundaries, explicitly deconstruct them when they act as barriers, or build then in resilient ways when they are necessary? How can design play a role in giving people the voice to choose their own way of thinking and acting, themselves to be agents of change within and beyond boundaries?

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