Memefest Cuba! Change in Everyday Life: Dialogue and Critique through Design in our Times

Memefest Workshop: Change in Everyday Life: Dialogue and Critique through Design in our Times

Instituto Superior de Disegno, Havana, June 19-25.

Dr George Petelin (Griffith University, Queensland College of Art & Memefest)
Dr Oliver Vodeb (Swinburne University of Technology & Memefest)

Participants: Approx. 20

The five day workshop is aimed at students, academics and professionals. While a communication design workshop it is interdisciplinary and welcomes students and academics and professionals from other areas as well.

The workshop will have a research phase, a production phase and implementation phase. Works created (for example posters) will be implemented in the public space.


The Aim of this workshop is to establish a process for designing visual communications and situations that generate productive dialogue in response to social change.

This methodology adopts three main principles

a) that visual communications must be based on rigorous research,
b) that the research and production should be carried out collaboratively,
c) that the outcomes should be focused towards a sustainable society as well as a critical reflection on the discipline of Design in the light of its social role.


‘Change in Everyday Life: Critique and Dialogue through Design in Our Times’ adopts the premise that changes in society can be better embraced and managed through more informed, more sincere, more adventurous, more imaginative and more open communication: in short, through authentic dialogue on a human level.

Everyday life is the terrain of constant change on an intimate as well as social level. Dialogue is often displaced by advertising and propaganda colonizing everyday life.

Critical design is therefore crucial in order to establish cultures of dialogue.

The majority of communication design as practiced in western democracies serves instrumental interests of the market and is reproducing predatory neoliberal capitalism (van Toorn 1998, 2010, Vodeb 2008). In his paper, Sustainability as a project of history, Clive Dilnot states: ‘Sustainability is that which most cruelly exposes design. Nothing reveals more sharply both the necessity and inconsequentiality of design: its (absolute) necessity as capacity, and its almost complete irrelevance as a value, or indeed as a profession’ (Dilnot 2011).

Design education mostly produces designers as service providers who do not have the capabilities to seriously confront the urgent issues of radical uncertainty and environmental degradation, which are defining conditions of today’s societies.

In a historic moment of change this Memefest workshop will confront the capitalist and socialist design paradigms and seek generative potentials through dialogue and critique.

What is it that we can learn from Western design’s mistakes and what potential might it still have? In this light, what can be learned from Cuba’s unique perspective on Design? How can we think about dialogue and change in times when capitalism and socialism start to speak openly and publicly to each other again? What changes are emerging from this, and what changes will create sustainable economies and nurture and develop truly sustainable design practice?

With the understanding that change is a generative principle, the workshop will explore how Design might make change more positive and productive through creating opportunities for dialogue in the realm of everyday life.


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9 years

U.S.-Cuba deal expected in early July to restore ties, reopen embassies


8 years, 12 months

Good luck with the workshop!!!

8 years, 11 months

I want to be there!!!!

8 years, 11 months

El taller fue un éxito, excelente trabajo de Oliver y George, gracias por invitarme a compartir el aula con ustedes.