Design Possibilities

Call for participants/presenters in a panel presentation and round table discussion, with possible breakout sessions at Scenofest, PQ2011

Roundtable Information

10am  21st June

Considering Sustainable Design: expanding the possible by rethinking the way we create

In their book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue that we will never sell sustainable practice by pitching cutting back, but rather through creating products that are beneficial to the earth. As Braungart points out, ants have a greater biomass than humans, and have been industrious for millions of years, yet unlike humans, their industry nourishes the planet. This panel will consider the benefits of sustainable design practice beyond the ‘it feels right’ motivation. By Rethinking the Way We Create Things, might we be opening up to a whole new and exciting world of design possibilities?

If you are planning to attend PQ2011, are interested in this aspect of design, and feel you would be interested/available to participate, please send your proposed presentation topic (abstract), and a short bio to William Mackwood:

2pm 21st June

Sites of Performance – Theatre out of frames

This years Scenofest sees two major performance projects happening outside of a theatre building, so what is it that this form of theatre achieves that cannot be achieved through other means ? Over the last ten years there has been a real surge in the interest in making work in unorthodox spaces from garages, botanical gardens, intimate apartments to massive industrial units.  Increasingly this work seeks out intersection with other collaborators, historians, cultural geographers, urban planners as the work seeks to map hidden histories. Street theatre performance too has developed in sophistication and scale and artists are employed as a catalysts to re-imagine their futures. Work by pioneering artists like Meredith Monk, Ariane Mnouchkine, Peter Brooks and companies like Dogtroep, Skewed Vision, Wilson+Wilson, La Machine all shaped the form, but what does the future hold ?

This roundtable considers the unique opportunities offered through this work and explore sites of performance potential for spectacle / community engagement / regeneration / as text / scenographic material.

If you are planning to attend PQ2011, are interested in this aspect of performance, and feel you would be interested/available to participate, please send your proposed presentation topic (abstract), and a short bio to Peter Reed at

Emulating Genius: learn how to do it in under 2 hours

Many thanks to everyone who came to the event, ran around forming adaptive eco-systems and generated new design possibilities. (And sorry to those who couldn’t get in because the event sold out).

Biomimicry is a new discipline that consciously emulates life’s genius.

It’s a design principle based on the genius of nature. The idea is not simply to utilise the natural world, but to learn from the exceptional aspects of its design.

It is the most radical approach to problem solving I have heard of.

And when architect Michael Pawlyn (FRSA) told me about it, I thought: ‘ Hmmm, it’d be good to learn how that works – not just ‘hear about it’ as something interesting – it would be great to understand the principles of it, then find ways to apply it.’ Then I drifted off into a daydream about the possibility of applying biomimicry in the arts….

So Michael has been developing games that can teach the principles of how biomimicry works – and we g0t to try them out with him and ecologist Dusty Gedge (FRSA).

The event is part of the Barbican exhibition Radical Nature – Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009.

The genius behind the genius of biomimicry is Janine Benyus – she is an Ada Lovelace for the 21st century. If you want to see a short introduction to Benyus’s work, her latest TED talk is now online.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology