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Designers in Residence Kortrijk 2024

Designers in Residence Kortrijk 2024 invites three designers to stay in residence who are inspired by a fascinating community in Kortrijk & Ghent and who will be challenged to experiment, research, and exchange knowledge and imagination. These designers will create contextual work and participate in inspiring excursions and conversations.

Theme: “All the Small Things”

The edition of Design Fest Gent 2025 wants to specifically focus on the “little things” and their importance in creating a sustainable future. These little things can relate, for example, to material use, energy consumption, efficiency, recycling, user-friendliness and social responsibility. By paying attention to these small details and integrating them into the design process, the designer not only gains the capacity and creativity to respond quickly to current questions and problems but can also make a positive contribution to the bigger picture of sustainability and a future-oriented perspective.

In the search for sustainable design solutions for the future, this edition will explore the possible relationships and synergies between low-tech and high-tech design. Low-tech and high-tech are not opposites, but rather a spectrum where different technologies complement each other; in terms of scale, focusing on the size and scope of a technological system but also in terms of their rapport. By combining low-tech and high-tech, synergies can emerge that leverage the strengths of both approaches.

“All the Small Things” focuses on four intertwined components:

Small structures

  • Small Structures is about implementing low-tech strategies to explore different positive directions for a future with a better quality of life and less global dependence. Smaller scales offer the advantage of being easier to own by communities and individuals in different ways and promote diversity within the community. These design solutions and practices organize around small structures to also provide a (regional) counterbalance to big tech.

Small/humble origins

  • Forms of regenerative design hark back to vernacular strategies such as permaculture for shaping design solutions. Low-tech starts from a critical attitude toward technology and its relationship to the “new” but also in terms of intelligence. Small organisms, structures and information counterbalance the big data that feed algorithms in their decision-making mechanisms. For example, by reverting to sensory “primal technologies” such as smell, taste and sight, and also giving a voice to non-human actors, the individual once again becomes central in a world dominated by technology.

Small problems/threads

  • Urgent issues on a large scale, such as climate change, migration, health and the economy, often seem insurmountable and abstract. To deal with these, there is a need for manageable narratives that empower people to take action. Viewing these problems on a smaller, relatable scale and focusing on individual experiences can help counter feelings of alienation and indifference and enable people to (re)act.

Small disruptions

  • The festival encourages or makes space for making known small disruptions (disruptions) that can contribute to positive change. By creating synergy effects, promoting awareness, stimulating systemic change and empowering the individual, small things can contribute to a bigger picture and have a positive impact on the planet and society.

The Residence offers:

  • Travel reimbursement
  • Accommodation
  • Fee
  • Use of Budalab Open Makerspace
  • Expert and practical support from Designregio Kortrijk & Design Fest Gent

Selection Criteria:

  • You are a recent graduate (minimum level: master’s degree or equivalent through experience)
  • You are a team player
  • You have manual skills (conceptual, handy, production, fabrication)
  • Provide your portfolio in PDF format (max. 6 MB and 10 pages). It should include a biography, a resume and a motivation related to the topic.
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