Call for Papers – Socially Engaged Design Conference 2019: Initiate. Sustain, Expand – Limassol, Cyprus, October 2019

6th December 2018

The value of socially engaged practices in social change

Socially Engaged Design Conference (SED) is a two-day event that discusses how researchers and practitioners propose and implement solutions to tackle contemporary societal issues. SED 2 will explore the role of art and design in driving social change. Under the umbrella theme of socially engaged practices through the arts and design (current and future) the speakers will present and debate their stance on political theories, democracy, the actual impact of socially engaged practices, social cities and co-design.


01 / Art, Design & Politics
Art and design can be used, as political instruments in the form of activism or, as a medium to discuss possible or better futures. Politics itself can also be understood as a form of design since it involves planning, decision-making and law-devising. What are the practices and issues related to public space, democracy, equality and participation and how can activist art and design influence the fields of democracy and participation? What is the role of socially engaged practices in times of political and cultural crisis?

02 / Socially Engaged Practices & Democracy
Socially engaged practices encourage participation and changes within communities. Direct engagement is a truly democratic model of tangibility and influence that yields change where it is needed most: the places where we live. What are the dynamics of socially engaged practices within the current societal challenges and needs? How can we advance democratic practice within a local level through socially engaged practices, and how, through these practices, can we affect democracy in our everyday lives? Moreover, how can socially engaged practices themselves become a democratic practice, when we deal with issues of co-authorship and co-design?

03 / The future of Socially Engaged Practices
Our design choices and practices were and are reflected in our society. Altering and morphing constantly upon the needs and wants of the ever-evolving cultures we build, maintain and grow. We participate, collaborate and act. We reconsider everything in search of social change. Terms such as innovation, future trends, prototyping, peer-to-peer learning and user-centric thinking constitute the foundation of the vocabulary associated with transforming systems.

How can we create a system that allows us to tackle the tangible problems of our society before they become one more representation of the past? In which direction should socially engaged practices expand to allow for even more meaningful and sustainable transformation? How can this field start participating in decision and policy-making at the highest political and legislative level? Where do Universities, NGOs, startups and innovative businesses fit into the equation? In short, where to now for socially engaged practices?

04 / Social cities
The future of our cities is at the core of discourses taking place on political, entrepreneurial, legal, academic and professional levels. Dream cities (resilient, inclusive, accessible, championing equality, environmentally, technologically and financially sustainable) are high on the political agenda. Although some urbanised clusters are perceived as successful social environments, others struggle to be friendly to their inhabitants and to offer a balanced social experience.

Within this framework, can we as socially engage practitioners to propose fresh, imaginative, financially viable and inclusive objectives and processes to truly support a wholesome lifestyle and propel the quality of our livelihood? Solutions that, will include citizens in their making and, will not only allow the progression of a city (in historical, infrastructural or financial terms) but also respect the unexpected results of their originators? Can we fulfil these goals and still place emphasis on small-scale change, and preserve the idiosyncrasies of everyday life? Or are we at risk of weakening the distinctiveness of our cities, diminishing diversity and increasing the privatisation of public space in pursuit of all of the above?

Please find more details at