Design with the Other 90%: Changing the World by Design

Hosted by Greenside Design Center (GDC) and the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg

Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg

Greenside Design Center (GDC)

22 – 24 September 2014
Johannesburg 26°12′16″S 28°2′44″E
South Africa
Max number of delegates: 250

Conference Theme
In 2007, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum hosted an exhibition entitled ‘Design for the other 90%’ which focused on design solutions that addressed the most basic needs of the 90% of the world’s population not traditionally served by professional designers. In 2008, Cumulus members signed the Kyoto Declaration, wherein they committed themselves to the ideals of sustainable development. The Cumulus Conference to be hosted by GDC and FADA seeks to bring discussions around the role art and design can and should play in sustainable social advancement, particularly in the context of the African Continent. Focusing on notions of respect, responsibility and sustainability, this conference seeks to explore the vital role that design, visual culture and design education plays in addressing pressing problems of our planet, particularly for under-served communities that are rarely benefactors of the work of artists and designers. It is envisaged that Africa’s distinctive capacity to respond to such problems will be highlighted.

The event
The event will run for three days from 22 to 24 September 2014.

22 September
23 September
24 September

Morning Session at FADA

(08h30 to 13h00)

Keynote address followed by 3 streams of paper presentations (25 minutes each)


(13h00 – 14h00)
Provided by the School of Tourism and Hospitality

Afternoon Session

(14h30 – 17h30)
Breakaway sessions including various workshops and activities. GDC will be foregrounding how socially responsibly design and community engagement have been realised   

Evening Session

    Gala Dinner


In addition, delegates are invited to other related activities:

  • An Alumni Exhibition showcasing work of the alumni from the two institutions. This will be formally opened at the University of Johannesburg on the evening on Sunday 21 September. The exhibition will remain for the duration of the conference. There is no need to book for this event.
  • Industry Evening: The South African Institute for Interior Design Professions (IID) will be hosting an industry evening on the evening of Monday 22nd September. Professional South African Designers will be giving talks on sustainability and the concept of ‘cradle-to-cradle’. Booking is required for this event. Please contact the IID for information and reservations at
  • Students from both institutions will be exhibiting their work in the foyer of the conference venue
  • Academic posters related to the theme of the conference will be exhibited at GDC (see call for posters)

Lastly, GDC has extended an invitation to Cumulus members to participate in our 3-week student project, entitled 10Percent, on community engagement which runs from 1 – 19 September (see for Call for Participation).

Travel and Accommodation
All conference costs, including costs for travel and accommodation, will be for the participants’ own accounts. The conference travel agent, Sure Travel, will be able to assist participants in finding and booking flights and accommodation in Johannesburg.

Call for Abstracts
In keeping with the overall theme of the conference, Design for the Other 90%: Changing the World by Design; contributions are invited for the following streams:

1)     Respect and responsibility:
This stream explores the social responsibilities of designers in their engagements with communities in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts. It is envisaged that papers will deal with the following issues:

  • Collaboration and participatory design: interactivity, responsiveness, and reflexivity
  • Design for diversity: site, culture, gender, disability, history and identity
  • Multidisciplinary and cross-professional approaches to design

 2)     Sustainability:
This stream foregrounds the economic and environmental aspects of sustainable design, and may address the following:

  • Adaptive reuse, design and preservation
  • Nature as design resource
  • Best practice for designing in developing and under-resourced communities
  • Roles of government, the individual, industry and commerce in sustainable design

 3)     Socially responsible design education:
This stream focuses on the role and importance, as well as challenges, of design education in furthering sustainable and socially responsible design. Possible topics may include:


  • Cases of best practice in socially responsible design education
  • Critique of dominant educational strategies
  • Graduate attributes of the next generation of designers


Call for Abstracts from Professionals and Educators
Contributions are welcome on all topics related to design, design education, and visual culture more broadly as they relate to the rubric of this conference. The theme encourages dialogue between different disciplines that may include (but is not restricted to) design, installation art, performance art, public art, interior design, architecture, the built environment and craft initiatives.

The editorial committee for the conference will review abstracts of 400-600 words. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to produce a full conference paper not exceeding 2,500 words and to present the paper at the conference. Thus, authors are accepted to present at the conference based on acceptance of the abstract. In addition, full papers will be reviewed by the editorial committee to provide formative feedback before the conference. Presenters will be allocated 20 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for discussion.

Abstracts will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Significance of the paper to the theme of the conference (i.e. that it makes a meaningful and valuable contribution to the issues that the conference seeks to explore)
  • Appropriate relation to the discipline (i.e. that it is relevant to the fields of art, design and architecture)
  • Quality of the research, originality and academic rigour (i.e. that the research is new and original, based on sound methodologies, and the writing follows academic protocol)

 The full call for papers can be downloaded here.

The full review process can be downloaded here .

Please email your abstracts to by 1 April 2014

Key Dates
Deadline for Submission of Abstract Tues 1 April 2014
Notification of Acceptance of Abstract and Invitation to Present at the Conference Wed 30 April 2014
Early Bird Conference Registration Mon 5 May 2014
Conference Registration Opens Mon 2 June 2014
Submission of Full Papers for Feedback Tue 24 June 2014
Feedback to Authors on Papers Fri 8 August 2014
Conference Mon 22 September – Wed 24 September 2014


Call for Posters from Professionals, Educators and Students
We invite submissions of academic posters that relate to the theme of conference – Design with the Other 90%: Changing the World by Design. Posters should communicate research findings, practices or theoretical commentary on issues relevant to the theme. An afternoon session will be dedicated to the poster exhibition, and authors are invited to answer any questions delegates may have about their work. Authors that cannot attend the conference are asked to provide their contact details which will be displayed alongside their poster.

Authors should take note of the following guidelines for the posters:


  • The content of the poster should relate to the theme of the conference (i.e. posters should make a meaningful and valuable contribution to the issues that the conference seeks to explore)
  • The content of the poster should be original and have academic integrity (i.e. the research presented should be new and original, based on sound methodologies; the practices or projects should have theoretically relevance)
  • The content of the poster should concern a research project or practice that is ongoing or near completion, not one that is yet to start.
  • The poster should be of a high quality (i.e. the visuals should be interesting/inspiring, the poster should be informative, the content should be clear and understandable)
  • Posters should be A2 in size, at 300 dpi.  They should be submitted electronically (as a PDF or JPEG file) and will be printed and exhibited by GDC. Please email the posters to
The first 50 posters submitted that adhere to the above guidelines will be exhibited. Authors will be notified as to whether their poster will be exhibited within two weeks of their submission.  The submission of posters opens officially on 18 March 2014 and will run until 50 posters have been accepted.
Key Dates
Submission of posters opens Tues 1 April 2014
Early Bird Conference Registration 5 May 2014 – 1 June 2014
Conference Registration 2 June 2014
Conference Mon 22 September – Wed 24 September 2014


1)      Call for Participation (to download 2nd call for participation)

Educators and academics are invited to participate in GDC’s three-week community engagement design project (10%) from 1 – 19 September 2014. The project sees students and lecturers across levels and disciplines coming together, function as design and research labs, to apply their expertise for the benefit of a local community.

Although the initiative is independent from the conference, much of the conference theme has stemmed from GDC’s experience of the initiative, and some of the afternoon breakaway sessions will foreground the work completed through the initiative.