Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Harriet Stockwell - a social approach to sustainability in Africa

I recently graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Graphic Design. I am an enthusiastic 22 year old geared to making positive changes through design. The Eco Design Initiative changed my whole outlook on design. All that was taught to me about design being 'sell sell sell a product', has now changed to make 'change change change in people's lives'. Design is possibly the most powerful tool to change minds, lives and living. If Design thinking is just powered in the right direction, positive social upliftment and innovation could sprout up all over the world. It is the simple idea that is the most effective and what the Eco Design Initative Challenge taught me was the best way to get that simple idea is to involve those whom you designing for. Design for me used to be an inward perspective but it is now an outward approach. Design is not about the Designer, it is about the people whom you design for. Africa is the greatest place to begin to design for social upliftment and innovation. Africa is so rich in design, it just needs a little guidance in the right direction.

Africa is in me, it is in my home, it is in my community. I was not born in Africa neither am I a South African citizen but I have only ever known what it is to be African. Africa is my home, it is my teacher, it is who I am. Whenever I come home from traveling overseas and I see Table Mountain I know I am home. Hearing an African accent while overseas makes me feel close to home. Africa is a beat, a vibe, an energy that flows through every single on of us that live here. It is what connects us and makes us African. It is that connection that should fuel design in Africa. Design can eradicate that which was left by the colonial powers and the apartheid era if everyone is involved. Community is key in designing and if design had to focus on social upliftment and innovation with the involvement of the community one is designing for, then Africa could be a sustainable rich continent. The theme Africa in me relates to who I am, how I design and who I design with. I would like to share my experience with the Eco Design Initiative challenge as well as my own personal thoughts relating to the theme Africa in Me at TEDxYouth@CapeTown.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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