Guidelines for presenters and discussants


Communities-in-place. In a highly connected world, communities are meshes of social ties that individuals can activate in different ways, choosing where, how, when and for how long to allocate their personal resources (in terms of time, attention, skills, relational availability). Therefore, they are not to be seen as (relatively) stable, lasting, homogeneous groups of people, when compared to communities of the past, but as spaces of possibilities enabling a variety of collaborative encounters thanks to which, ideas can be exchanged, problems can be solved and/or new perspectives can be opened.

Moments of encounter. These are the very special moments in which a project generates a new collaborative encounter. That is, the moments in which two or more persons meet and do something together in a given place.


  • To contribute to the understanding of contemporary communities-in place.
  • To describe some specific collaborative encounters that CoR-related projects have created.
  • To move from these specific encounters to discuss both the nature of the new communities-in-place and the role of art and design in the communities-in-place generation and re-generation.


Focus: a meaningful ‘moment of encounter’ generated by your project. Use your time to tell of the encounter in the most vivid way, not of the project per se. (Please note that, after this presentation there will be time to give more detail in the parallel group discussions and in the final plenary presentation of the group results).

Timing: 6-8 minutes

Format: use images and/or performance in order to make the encounter presentation the most lively possible.


The encounter in itself

  • Who: involved actors
  • Why: encounter motivations (for the different actors)
  • How: different actors’ roles (more or less active, collaborative, relational)
  • Where: physical context role (more or less important in the encounter definition)

Overview 1

The encounter and its contribution to building community-in place

  • What kind of social ties is this encounter generating?
  • How does this encounter contribute to a community-in-place building process?

Overview 2

The encounter in the art and design perspective

  • What has been the project team’s role in making this encounter happen?
  • In which way has art and design used its specific skills and sensitivity in this process?
  • What can we learn from this experience?

Seminar programme



10 short (8 minute) presentations on the theme of ‘moments of encounter’, as they appeared in the experience of some UAL CoR-related projects.


10 parallel group discussions, one for each presented encounter, with presenters and invited discussants.

17.15 – BREAK


10 short (5 minute) presentations of the discussions on each proposed ‘moment of encounter’.


Collective discussion on communities-in-place, collaborative encounters and the possible role of art and design.


Weaving People and Places

Cultures of Resilience Event

Weaving People and Places

How art and design is collaborating to (re)build communities-in-place

This event will be the last step in the UAL Cultures of Resilience (CoR) project and the first step in a new line of art and design research, which will hopefully continue.

When and where

14.30 – 19.30, 1 July 2016. LVMH Lecture Theatre (E003), Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA.


This seminar will focus on collective reflection, to discuss how in the present context, art and design is collaborating to (re)build communities-in-place.

In the framework of the CoR project we have observed that, consciously or not, art and design brings people together in special ways, instigating social assemblies that foster new social connections and collaborations.

The purpose of this seminar is to ask what kind of social forms is art and design helping to generate?

What will happen?

To answer this question, the afternoon will be divided into three sessions. The discussion in each one will be triggered by a set of short vignettes in which CoR participants will very briefly revisit a specific magic moment of encounter during their project that was pivotal in the forming of a new connection between one person and another or between people and a place.

Why attend?

There are two mainstream trends that currently are weakening communities-in-place: that of a hyper-individualised, delocalised society; and that of the notion of going back to the communities and places of the past.

This event will present examples of art and design contributions to processes of community building that can counter these trends and help enable conditions for the kind of encounters that evolve towards new social forms.

You can register your place at the seminar using Eventbrite here.

Cultures of Resilience and the politics of resilience


understood as shared beliefs and behaviours


understood as adaptability, flexibility, learning, agility and resourcefulness


understood as people who try to influence the way a country is governed


based on the belief that our best interests are being served

At the beginning of the 21st century, trust, resilience and politics have broken down in society. Under the radar, however, a new organizing principle is emerging, based on territory (place), connectivity (connection), agency (participation). Emerging Cultures of Resilience rooted in place, in creativity and in connectivity, point towards a new socio-techno-economic system fit for the 21st century. This emerging future, however, is not mirrored in our 20th century politics and its political parties. This begs the question does the old way of doing politics fit or do we need a new type of politics to engage productively with the future? To put it differently: Do we need a politics of resilience?

Such an idea is not easy! Powerful and entrenched forces, based on neoliberal monetary and market capitalism, can hinder such a transition. As yet there is little or no political voice to announce and represent the opportunities inherent in the social innovation of emerging local physical networks, at the national or European level. No representation of the social, economic and ecological benefits based on decentralized, distributed, networked and resilient local and connected communities. Despite this, a new meta-narrative is emerging for the 21st century, one based not on scarcity but abundance.

At the center of this meta-narrative is us, humans. Humans are unique in that they have the capacity to imagine, to tell stories, to create, to be flexible and to adapt. Some species have some of these but not all of them. If, through cultures of resilience, we are able to liberate these unique capacities then we can imagine, for the first time in our history, living not in a state of scarcity but in a state of abundance: abundance, not of stuff, but of those very qualities that make us uniquely human. Resilient systems have the potential to liberate these intangible qualities, qualities, furthermore, that are not perishable but that multiply by usage both personally and collectively. More is more not less is more!

So, do we rely on a tipping point, on the contamination of this new virus and its resilience to resist the establishment’s antibodies, or, do we also debate and consider a new politics fit for purpose? Do we need to start a conversation around the Cultures of Resilience and the Politics of Resilience? Do we start imagining, within the Cultures of Resilience, the kind of politics and political system we need to reflect this emerging future and help make it happen?


Firstly identify the questions, for example:

What is politics beyond pyramids and hierarchies? What could be the politics of abundance as opposed to the politics of scarcity? Can we imagine a connected, networked, fluid politics? How could a new politics reflect and nurture resilient systems? How can we make our politics resilient and relevant to the 21st century? As input both for framing the questions and for the discussion, I suggest some triggers based on Ezio Manzini’s working document, Annex 1, Communities (in a highly connected world), exploring six different expressions of contemporary communities. For example:

  1. Contemporary communities are multiple, non- exclusive and those who participate in such communities are not looking for a ready-made solution or identity.
  2. Social networks can be more or less embedded in the place where their members live and act. The search for improved resilience in socio-technical systems and in the quality of interactions, highlight the importance of positive relationships between people, their communities and the places where they live. Such relationships, however, are becoming fluid and open in the 21st century.
  3. Contemporary communities are not to be seen as structured organizations, but as spaces of possibilities: networks of people and places offering opportunities for expressing ideas and solving problems. Ideas, services, collaborations can be evaluated from the community members’ point of view related to time, attention, skills and long-term commitment.
  4. Contemporary communities are person-to-person interactions, whatever the shared results may be these encounters generate relational values between the participants such as trust, empathy and friendliness that in turn generate social commons, creating a virtuous circle: person to person generates relational values that, in turn, produce social commons, which by its process is exponential.
  5. Given that a community is a space of possibilities (and not an organization), it cannot be designed and realized as a single entity.
  6. Building a resilient community means increasing diversity, redundancy and ability to learn from experience. This can be done by supporting collaboration between different people, valorizing these diversities and increasing conditions for an inclusive social cohesion.

Ezio Manzini points out contemporary societies are fragile, one reason being the absence of communities in place: networks of people capable of recovering from unforeseen setbacks, that can adapt to change and learn from experience… networks of people capable of behaving as resilient systems. I would add that such fragility is also a consequence of a defunct political system. Social innovation demands political innovation.

And perhaps the timing is now right. The International Monetary Fund, has recently put out a landmark publication containing an essay entitled Neoliberalism: Oversold? written by three of its top economists. Commenting on this publication, Aditya Chakraborrty wrote in the Guardian on May 31st, “we’re watching the death of neoliberalism from within. It is the very technocrats in charge of the system who are slowly, reluctantly admitting that it is bust.” There is hope.