While European bureaucracies are still focussing on fighting the symptoms of an ongoing migration towards its heavily defended boarders, grassroot initiatives in West-Africa already work together with local communities to co-create alternative futures to respond to the many reasons young people decide to take the Central Mediterranean route to Europe.

Despite a new focus on the sustainable and the local, development cooperation as we know it has yet to reinvent itself. Balancing the fine line between offering support and empowering local individuals and communities, we have to acknowledge that “Migrants” are by no means helpless people. They interact on a global scale, organize themselves in networks for mutual support, and constantly look out for opportunities of a brighter future mainly in densely populated urban areas, while navigating between the informal and formal spheres of society.

In recent years, the establishment of novel academic programs such as social design, geo-design and public-interest design have challenged traditional design education and motivated many young designers to use their skills for a more responsible, ethical, culturally adapted and engaged design practice.

With which roles are we as designers confronted in such a research setting? And which approaches have the potential to level the relationship between the researcher and the researched leading to a mutual exchange of knowledge?

As a guest of the Integrated Interactions Lab, a research cluster supported by Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Simon Meienberg invites you to see the phenomenon of Migration through the lens of social interactions. He will share insights in his design research experience and methodological approaches on home making practices of migrant communities in Paris and Cologne and bottom-up initiatives to empower young locals within the EU-IOM Pilot Project Redesigning Migration Information Centres in The Gambia.

Simon Meienberg

Simon Meienberg is a Designer for Social Transformation and Spatial Narratives. He graduated with a Master of European Studies in Design at KISD and complemented his studies at Politechnico di Milano and ENSCI – Les Ateliers in Paris. In his master’s thesis in the area of Design Theory and Research, he investigated urban forms of interaction of migrants in Paris and Cologne as strategies for home making in a foreign country. In the context of this work, he organized a participatory workshop and a public exhibition at Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, which was supported by ArtAsyl e.V. and JACK IN THE BOX e.V.

He is currently working and researching as a design consultant for the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) of the UN – United Nations in Gambia.

You can join the KISDtalk online via zoom. The talk will start at 5:30 pm (CEST), the session is open from 5 pm on.
https://th-koeln.zoom.us/j/95554103781
Meeting-ID: 955 5410 3781
Passwort: 089031