WD proud sponsor and participant at DDF2016
The Detroit Design Festival (DDF) is an annual citywide celebration of creativity. This year, in celebration of Detroit’s new designation as a UNESCO City of Design, DDF events and programs explored the ways in which design is shaping Detroit’s future. As part of the Detroit City of Design Summit planning committee, WD played a key role in helping to shape a more participatory and critical dialogue. The Work Department proudly sponsored and participated in the week-long event.
WD partner, Nina Bianchi, presented on a panel about design and adaptation that brought together the following local and national design thought leaders —Ryan Gravel, SixPitch, Wendy Jackson, Kresge Foundation, and Sommer Woods, M-1 Rail. Other key presenters at DDF2016 included:
- Maurice Cox, City of Detroit Planning Director
- Andrew Blauvelt, Director of the Cranbrook Art Museum (and former Design Director of the Walker Art Center)
- Ingrid Van Der Wacht, International Project Manager at Dutch Design Foundation
- Pam Lewis, New Economy Initiative
We also led a workshop titled “The Human Internet” that helped participants warm up and connect. In the first round, participants were encouraged to introduce themselves to people they didn’t know, and the next round was an asset mapping exercise in which people shared what skills and resources they could share and what ones they needed. Participants formed groups, and developed unique definitions of design using only English as Second Language words. While all the definitions were thoughtful, our favorites were: design develops social benefits and design is a process to discover, make, and connect together. Our workshop jumpstarted relationships amongst participants, and it kicked off the Design Challenge Hackathon intended to lay the groundwork for a City of Design planning process for Detroit’s 10 years UNESCO designation.
DDF2016 was a wonderful learning and networking experience for us. We met many incredible, creative people including French and Canadian design entrepreneurs and innovators from the UNESCO network, correspondents from Dwell and Metropolis, and a Presidential Innovation Fellow, from the White House. We are honored to be part of the Detroit design community and to represent Detroit on an international level. Learn more about our work in co-curating an exhibition with the Public Design Trust for the 2017 International Design Biennale in Saint Etienne.