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Contemporary Design meets Local Crafts
After 7 years of developing the thought provoking design label Disarming Design from Palestine we want to establish an alternative design school. We respond to the need for a vibrant design program which maintains an active relationship with the local design and crafts communities, and can be flexible in its format. Many craftsmen and designers are active in Palestine, but due to the occupation and the often marginalized positions, they lack enough work, innovation and exposure.
Grounding a Design Discourse
Since this summer our organization is based in Birzeit in the beautiful historic building Hosh Jalsa where we have started design related activities; like an architectural drawing club, a film program, a library club and workshops on upcycling, typography and more to come. These smaller workshops are focussed on the local community to empower people with design skills. On the longer term we want to establish a critical design program where we concentrate on the impact of design in a conflicted and politicized reality. It will be situation specific formats in collaboration with local and international educational institutes. It will offer learning experiences that feeds to the economic, political and artistic independence of designers. How can artistic action in a polarized reality feed self-expression? How can the social impact be activated in processes of co-design?
Thought Provoking Design Label
Disarming Design from Palestine is a thought-provoking design label that develops, presents and sells useful goods from Palestine, designed by contemporary designers and artists in collaboration with local producers. The label aims to spread alternative narratives about contemporary Palestine and reflect upon the function of creative practices in situations of conflict. By stimulating interdisciplinary working relationships new artistic models are empowered, feeding innovative ideas for crafts production and giving another dimension to the traditional representations of handcrafts. Art and design are deployed as powerful tools that allow serious discussions about the political, social and cultural realities. By making, there is greater independence from the market and room for expressing one’s own identity. How can creative practices contribute to a more sustainable society and human-centered economy?
Who will benefit from the Space?
Our alternative school is focussing on:
- The local community, who can participate in the events we host, or enjoy the beautiful courtyard and get inspired
- Palestinian producers will benefit from the production of our products, the participation in our workshops and other future collaborations between them and the Palestinian design community
- Students from the Birzeit University (focussing on Architecture & Design faculty) join events, workshops and host activities themselves
- Designers from all over Palestine are offered a new place to meet, share idea’s on design and do research in the library, and they will participate in the special product-design-workshops that we will organize
- International designers will participate through a residency that includes design development and teaching, and we’ll offer them a space to do research
- And on a global level, the activities will contribute to the distribution of alternative narratives from Palestine through design and the understanding of the position of designers within this
Participants previous workshops said:
- Areej Ashhab (PS): Cooperation is not something very common in my university. DDFP opened my eyes to a lot of people that exist around me and that I did not know about, people which I can collaborate with. I really enjoyed the group working and I learned design in terms of narration. I’ve learned to design through the glasses of the story I want to tell
- Mohammad Saleh (PS): Showing the potential of Palestinian craftsmanship is essential to let it survive. Disarming Design brings back craftsmanship to its real path and function, emerging from and serving the real needs of the Palestinian people. The products are designed bottom-up, from people’s reality towards their needs in the street, on the checkpoints, in the kitchen, the house, the clothing, etc
- Amani Yacoub (PS): The workshop opened our eyes for Palestinian artisans!
- Biyi Zu (CN): Via local designed goods Disarming Design focuses on individual stories. This makes us understand the value and strength of our differences and avoid us thinking in black and white. Definitely, it is one of the most valuable lessons in my life; it has taught me to use design as a fundamental tool to learn from the world
- Floris van Driel (NL): I was very impressed by the Palestinian industries that I’ve never witnessed so closely and realized the high quality of it
- Tessa Meeus (NL): The workshop changed everything actually. It made me think a lot about the way the West views Arabic people in general. How in Europe we and also I have programmed prejudgements in our system
- Annelys de Vet (1974) is the founding- and artistic director of Disarming Design from Palestine. She has a design practice in Brussels for gentle power and radical imagination and heads the Master in Design at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam. After she initiated the ‘Subjective atlas of Palestine’ in 2007 together with Khaled Hourani and the International Academy of Arts Palestine she continued engaging in how design can contribute to a more sustainable and just society, resulting in founding the thought-provoking design label in 2011. Annelys guides the workshops, develops the artistic strategy of the label and takes care of the international representation and distribution of Disarming products.
- Raed Hamouri (1985) is the executive director of Disarming Design and an active community builder. He holds a BA in architecture, and studied management and theater and conducts research into art as a form of resistance. He lives and works in Ramallah. In 2015 he started the successful ‘social cafe’ Al-Rumman, where the local creative/critical community met, could read and make music. Raed is responsible as director, activator and strategic developer for ‘Hosh Jalsa’.
- Ghadeer Dajani (1980) is a Jerusalem based interior designer, and the production and design manager of Disarming Design after having participated in our workshop in 2015. Ghadeer made two successful and moving designs. She does product development, supervises the workshops and takes care of the entire production process of the objects and has a very broad knowledge of design, material and production possibilities in Palestine. Ghadeer will collaborate on the new design program, develop the collection of products and supervise workshops.
- Additionally our kitchen is run by students, and clubs formed by students from Birzeit University are responsible for activating the social activities as volunteers, international design interns invest in the development of our project.
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