University of Antwerp – International Design Workshop Week

Re-ACT by design is the theme of an annual series of international workshop weeks for master students product development, architecture, interior architecture, heritage studies, and urbanism and spatial planning of the Faculty of Design Sciences at the University of Antwerp and for students of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of the AP University College.

​The aim of the international workshop week is to explore the power and capacity of design to tackle those lines of fracture and socially engage by design. Beyond re-search by design, students and tutors re-act by design.

How can design education not only address students, but also address those lines of fracture, and induce debates, provoke questions, and set an agenda?

The International Design Workshop week is open to radical pedagogical experiences, which open the eyes, change sides and widen thinking. It stimulates crossing disciplinary boundaries. The week is jointly curated by a team of students and faculty. It provides a forum for international exchange; simultaneously, it is an informal platform for discussing design education and its agency. The 2021 edition investigates the potentials of commons.​​

Architect-artist Ola-Dele Kuku was invited to lead a workshop on

The Humour Of Collective Representation

(designing the sense of humour)


Following this one week workshop, investigating ‘Humour’ (which is perhaps the most neglected of the senses) as a design application that focuses on socio-cultural constraints, communication and behavioural response for an urban intervention, the involved students presented this short film:

‘The society is a system – a social system and we learn from the study of physics that disorder in a system always increases with time. This is evident today in our cultural evolution that reflects the current persisting global phenomenon of socio-cultural conflicts, which I have described as the contemporary conflict culture. Within the realm of how things relate, conflict emerges as a significant catalyst that usually instigates the dynamics of change and reform, rather than the means to stability or reunion. Therefore, conflicts can be manifested as a familiar interdependent relationship involving constraints relative obligations or the balance between wishes and fulfilments. Hence, the affiliation to the built environment by the individual is manifested by means of subjective analytic translation of experiences, actions and endeavour which in turn reveals a behavioural response and attitude towards that environment’.

This cultural transformation is being sustained by an amazing development in technology that has been produced due to the conflict phenomenon (particularly in armed conflict) via design application, applied architecture and applied social engineering. It is a projection of the new application era where design thinking today has become a prominent application rather than a product!

The workshop exercise will use this platform to investigate ‘Humour’ (which is perhaps the most neglected of the senses) as a design application that focuses on socio-cultural constraints, communication and behavioural response for an urban intervention – with reference to divisions in society and diversity within the community. The intervention will be based on use of words, symbols, sound as media that appeal to the senses and tools for generating a collective representation.


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