Wanneer/when: Woensdag 7 juni 2023 > 09.45 uur – 18.15 uur

Waar/where: Wijnhaven 61 – Rotterdam 

Program details

10.15 am | Can you hear the Silent Middle?

Esther Verhamme & Demian Burgenik

We had to give back the majority of the Netherlands to the sea. Welcome to the republic of the Netherislands, 2050. As inhabitants of one of the islands our dilemma is whether we trade and grow or become fully self-sustaining in harmony with nature. What do we value as a society? Which values are at stake and how do we stay connected in times of unwanted polarisation?

Back to 2023…We are on the brink of major changes. To be heard, you have to have an opinion. Is there still room for the middle? And what wisdom do we find there? What voices are there and what is the common ground where we can find each other?

Esther Verhamme is working as an experience designer on speculative storytelling and gamification. Her design research is about unveiling the unspoken stories by designing spacial experiences in which there’s room for experimenting, playing and drastically failing.

Demian Burgenik is an experienced coach and trainer. He works with both individuals and groups on discovering and exposing the unseen. As an expert in systemic working, he will help us see what is happening and what we might be overlooking in doing so.

During this expert lecture Esther and Demian invite you to play, explore uncovered territory and experience the dynamics of de-polarisation.



11.15 uur / am | The Changing Purpose, Role and Responsibility of Creatives

Niels Stevense & Douwe van der Werf

It is time for creatives to stop being passive observers, just doing their job for money. It is time to take an active, critical, and responsible role within and beyond their industry.

To create true progress, we must challenge ourselves to poke through the illusion of progress, go beyond the surface level, and ask difficult questions about our designs’ impact on society and the environment. We must be willing to engage in critical thinking, learn from diverse perspectives, and collaborate with other stakeholders.

Niels Stevense works as a social designer at a creative participation agency, and as an all-around graphic designer. He is dedicated to practizing socially responsible graphic design and is currently pursuing a master’s degree to develop his skills further to take an even more active role in his mission for socially responsible creativity.

Douwe van der Werf specializes in deep storytelling experiences, aiming to bridge gaps of understanding through empathy and developing stories of positive change.

In the expert lecture, Niels and Douwe examine the position and role of creatives within their work field, encouraging them to take a socially responsible stance. We aim for socially responsible creatives. Are you ready for this engagement?


12.15 uur / pm | Restore the wounded: adapting mental models towards regenerative living

Phyllis Wong & Femke Coops

Imagine, with your eyes closed, the wounded. Imagine her trauma, pain and emotions. Imagine the impact on her loved ones; their fear of possible loss while pinning the highest hope for any recovery. Imagine the wounded as your home. Imagine the wounded as your surroundings. Such imagination is the current reality.  As the solution to climate emergency progresses from sustainability to regeneration, the role of repair and renewal continues to stage as the most sensible way towards environmental recovery.

In her design research, architect and visual artist Phyllis Wong investigates methodologies on how a switch in mindset can assist us in entering the regenerative era. Presently she explores reformed approaches that focus on extended perspective, inclusivity within our ecological community and the assimilation of embracing empathy. These paradigm shifts touch on various systemic angles. They range from what kind of meaningful legacies we want to leave behind for the next generations, how we are giving other ecological species a voice to how we are emotionally connected to natural material.

While pursuing such a complex change of thinking, how can we ensure a just transition for all walks of life? Femke Coops joins Phyllis in discourse to discuss some pointers. Femke is a design researcher at the DIT (Design Impact Transition) platform and a PhD candidate at the Eindhoven University of Technology focusing on the topic of designing for transition and transformation. Femke believes and advocates that the notion of design can help make transitions a graspable and tangible undertaking. In contributing to Phyllis’ research, Femke will share her expertise with design and transition approaches to address the process of accommodating change at both emotional and systemic levels.



13.45 uur / pm | Wearable Play: creating sensory experiences for, and with, autistic children through clothing

Brittany Thorpe & Julia Bach

Brittany Thorpe is design researching experience of play for autistic children by utilizing her fashion design background to create wearable, interactive play. Wearable play refers to recognizing and using the body as a tool to explore, understand and have fun with sensory experiences. 

Julia Bach is an educator for children with autism, currently working at Stichting Ark, a ‘not-for-profit’ for children aged 3 to 13 years with autism, communication and language delays, sensory processing disorders, PDD-NOS and other developmental challenges. She is currently studying Pedagogical Sciences and Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. Through working with a range of clients, Julia has gained insightful first-hand experience of sensory differences. 

In this conversation, Julia will shed light on her experience as an educator for autistic children. Together they will discuss the definition of play, its variations and the ways that play can look. As well as dissecting the tools that are used to facilitate play, including prototypes that Brittany and Julia have made in collaboration. They invite the audience to further their understanding of how their body is a tool in experiencing play.


14.45 uur / pm | Voel de verbeelding / Touching the imagination

Ann Conefrey & George Kabel

Stel je een wereld voor, waarin de zintuigen niet worden geactiveerd door middel van zien, maar door aanraking. Een wereld rijk aan tastbare vormen en materialen, waar mensen lezen met de toppen van hun vingers. Ann M. Conefrey is grafisch ontwerper, gespecialiseerd in het tactiele. Haar design research richt zich op zo’n wereld, waarbij de grenzen van tactiliteit en ‘naked’ braille worden verlegd, om rijkere vormen van communicatie te ontwikkelen. Functionaliteit is vaak de enige factor die aan bod komt in ontwerpen voor visueel gehandicapten, waarbij de tactiele ervaring in zijn geheel niet optimaal wordt benut, wat Conefreys onderzoek zowel uitzonderlijk als relevant maakt.

Ik voel de details, die ik vroeger nooit heb gezien.

George Kabel

George Kabel is filosoof en kunstenaar. Hij verloor meer dan 30 jaar geleden zijn gezichtsvermogen, na een carrière in de elektrotechniek bij Philips Research, waar hij hielp bij de ontwikkeling van de dvd. Momenteel werkt hij in zijn studio in Eindhoven en exposeert hij in binnen- en buitenland. De documentaire Een gevoel van zwart, over zijn leven en werk, ging in december 2018 in première in het Van Abbemuseum.

Tijdens deze lezing gaat Conefrey in gesprek met Kabel over hoe en waarom hij zijn creatieve expressie door middel van aanraking heeft ontwikkeld, kijkend naar de keuzes die hij maakt met betrekking tot concept, vorm en materiaal. Het publiek wordt ook uitgenodigd om de communicatieve en expressieve kwaliteiten van tastbare materialen te ervaren en vervolgens te bespreken waarom dit voor iedereen nuttig kan zijn, ongeacht hun visuele vaardigheden.

This lecture is in Dutch



15.45 uur / pm | Footwear’s Footprint: why the choice of material matters

Judith Sanders & Catherine Willems

After having worked in the commercial footwear industry for many years, Judith Sanders started questioning why we make shoes such a complex product, using materials sourced from all around the world. For her master’s programme she is researching if it would be possible to prioritize the health of our feet and environment by utilizing local resources instead. Can we for instance grow material for custom-fitted shoes in our own backyards?

Catherine Willems founder of the Future Footwear Foundation, teaches design anthropology and footwear design at the School of Arts Gent, KASK, in Belgium. Willems graduated with a PhD in the Arts in which she combines biomechanics, anthropology and design sciences. She explores the relation between materials, skills and design methods in various communities and questions the conventional thinking on design and production.

During a conversation with Catherine, Judith will discuss the crucial connection between people and planet through the material used in footwear, as the material of our shoes is what physically connects us to the planet. 



16.45 uur / pm | D.E.A.T.H to do good! Using our worst traits to make the best designs

Djie Han Thung & Chris W. Mitchell

Djie Han Thung is a filmmaker and designer working as a lecturer and researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences at the department of Communication and Multimedia Design. His design research is focused on the possibilities of ways in which designers can use undesired longings as a creative power to mitigate unforeseen negative effects of their intended design. It’s a search for the possibilities of the use of Devil’s Ethics and Antagonism Towards Humanity (D.E.A.T.H.) in a design method to do good.

To go deeper into the aspect of using your own darker half to get into ta generally unwanted perspective screenwriter and film director Chris W. Mitchell will join the presentation. Chris W. Mitchell’s own films like The Prodigal Son, The Pool and De Openbaring deal with fear and horror and have protagonists with lots of unwanted character traits. Next to his own films he also works as a scriptwriter and script consultant for other directors as Tjebbo Penning, Rudolf van den Berg and Martin Koolhoven.

Together Chris and Djie Han will give a lecture that will release the worst in you!