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Designing politics – The politics of design

IFG Ulm Promotion Programme
International Public Announcement
Call for entries

Submission Deadline: 31 May 2006

send your application to:
Internationales Forum für Gestaltung (IFG) Ulm

for further information, please consult
or contact Annette Diefenthaler:

The International Design Forum IFG (Internationales Forum für Gestaltung) Ulm
announces its promotion programme and is thus
expanding the design dialogue which has been
continued in Ulm over the past decades, to
include the active creation and dissemination of
knowledge. Analysis, implementation,
communication and didactic dissemination to a
professional audience will occupy the key roles.

With the promotion of projects, IFG Ulm is
creating free space for an autonomous, critical
examination of current social processes in all
their complexity. The focus is on four factors:
establishing, strengthening, supporting and
learning from and with projects. Design is
understood here as an exchange of knowledge and
opinion given shape, extending the concept of
form into transform, and thus including action.
Design is therefore always transformation.

Promotion by IFG Ulm includes, but is not limited
to financial support alone. IFG Ulm provides
networking, the exchange of experience, and

Designing politics – The politics of design

ťCulture and politics […] belong together because
it is not knowledge or truth which is at stake,
but rather judgment and decision, the judicious
exchange of opinion about the sphere of public
life and the common world, and the decision what
manner of action is to be taken in it, as well as
to how it is to look henceforth, what kind of
things are to appear in it.Ť --Hannah Arendt (The
Crisis in Culture: Its Social and Political
Significance, in: Between Past and Future: Eight
Exercises in Political Thought, New York 1961,

Ulm is the place in the world that has set itself
the task of conducting a discourse on
the social responsibility of the designer and
defining the democratic quality of design. What
Ulm searched for and formulated is an answer by
design to the crimes of the
Nazi regime: The Scholl siblings fought for
things to be different, and the Hochschule für
Gestaltung in Ulm opened up alternative
approaches to educating designers. On that basis,
IFG Ulm continues to represent the conviction
that the work of designers and architects cannot
be reduced to aesthetic, technical and commercial
factors. Design always rests on a social and
political foundation, and acts upon that
foundation in return. What does this vision mean
to us today?

With the promotion programme ťDesigning politics
– The politics of designŤ in 2006, IFG Ulm is
taking up this discourse which started over 50
years ago, and is investigating its current
relevance. Today, Ulm is once again searching for
what is different:

– How can designers in future define their work
in an extended and mediating field of
relationships which also includes social and
cognitive processes?
– Is there a way for designers to initiate and
regulate intervention and participation in the
field of social transformation?
– What design opportunities are linked with a
view to action, networking and conditioning above
and beyond formal clarity?

Ulm is looking for examples of projects which
make the change from an economy of reification to
an ecology of transformation. Projects which are
dedicated to processes of becoming. Projects
which direct their gaze behind the surface of the
design process and which reveal that design
diffuses transformational action into the space
occupied by commercial and political
decision-making. IFG Ulm’s promotion programme is
intended to encourage projects to develop
consequences which leave a lasting mark on our
social and physical environment.

The available grant amounts to EUR 50,000. It is
to be allotted by IFG’s Advisory Board upon
receipt of applications. IFG’s Advisory Board
reserves the right to allot this sum to one
project or distribute it among several projects.

The projects may be
– scholarships for the compilation of a project
application which the beneficiaries are to submit
to another body (i.e. not IFG Ulm). The aim is to
facilitate projects which would fail without this
promotion for the sole reason that the
preparation for a project grant currently
requires an extremely large amount of work.
– initiative projects which draw attention to
deficits in design practice. The spectrum extends
from town planning, country planning and
architectural questions to time-related functions
within product or communication design. It is a
characteristic of these projects that public
attention is sought and an examination of design
quality is performed on the basis of the
alternatives identified.

The decision will be made on 23.09.2006. It will
be preceded by a non-public hearing on 22.09.2006
in the building of the former Hochschule für
Gestaltung Ulm. A selection of the applications
submitted will be presented at that hearing by
the applicants and discussed with invited guests.

Applications may be submitted by
– academic institutions,
– journalists, researchers and designers, and
– graduates of universities in any discipline who
can provide evidence of at least three years’
professional experience.
The members of the IFG Advisory Board and the
participants in the hearing are barred from
receiving grants from IFG Ulm.

Please submit your application (max. 10,000
characters) to IFG Ulm by email only by
31.05.2006. The address is
Entries by post will be disregarded. Please also
state in your application the sum for which you
are applying. You will receive a reply by
31.07.2006 indicating whether you are invited to
the presentation on 22.09.2006. Travel and
overnight accommodation expenses for that
presentation will be borne by IFG Ulm.

Should you have any questions, please consult<> or
send an email to Annette Diefenthaler:
We look forward to receiving your suggestions.



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