Social design vs welfare work
One Week About Social Design by Cindy van den Bremen
In the first years during which I, as a committed designer, was trying to build up an existence as a self-employed entrepreneur, the design field often reproached me for being a ‘welfare worker’. I visited disadvantaged neighborhoods and what does a designer have to do there?
The social professional visits the neighborhood because of a problem, while our work starts with the opportunities and possibilities that a neighborhood and people living there have to offer. We look and think differently and because of this different approach, you can break through patterns. You can help people to transcend their own expectations, but also the expectations of others about them or their neighborhood. It is about discovering new perspectives and use these to develop new initiatives. As a social designer, I facilitate this process.
A concerned resident of Drents Dorp (a district in Eindhoven) once said that without the work of the Drents Dorp Angels, she would probably have been put away in a mental home. By doing creative work, working hard and trying to find distraction for her tormenting mental anguish, she found salvation in her own ability. She exceeded her own expectations as well as those of others. She is now one of the pioneers of the ceramic workshop in Drents Dorp. The Drents Dorp Angels have left; the organization and the initiative are now with the residents themselves. Het Ongemakkelijk Diner (The Uncomfortable Dinner) is a nice project rolled out here, but there’s so much more they do. Go and have a look in the Drents Dorp Hoofdkwartier (designed by Piet-Hein Eek) under the Strijps Bultje during the DDW 2016!