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Research Week February 2023

during International Design Workshop week

13-17 February 2023

Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp
in collaboration with UA Design Sciences
International Design Workshop week (IDW)

Discover the 20 workshops

In current times where extreme circumstances and polarization are hardening the social debate, designing for social emancipation, cohesion and sustainability can enable students to identify various ethical issues, frictions or social gaps. The International Design Workshop week aims to STORM through the minds of our students: exploring the power of the critical design approach for social inquiry and engagement through design.

Traditionally, designers apply affirmative design approaches in the design process, providing answers and solutions to questions or design challenges, and thereby reinforcing the current situation rather than rejecting it [2, 4]. This is simply how we are trained to perform as ‘problem-solvers’ (and ‘solution-focused’) [1]. However, the aim of the international workshop week is to focus on ‘problem-finding’and explore the power of a critical design attitude:

“[Critical design] rejects how things are now as being the only possibility, and provides a critique of the prevailing situation through designs that embody alternative social, cultural, technical or economic values.” [3] 

“[Critical design] opens lines of inquiry as opposed to providing answers or solutions to questions or design problems.” [5] 

“Critical Design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens (…).” [4] 

The workshop week is open to radical pedagogical experiences, which open the eyes, widen thinking and foster new encounters. It stimulates international and interdisciplinary exchange and offers an informal platform for discussing design education and its agency.


Five-day working week with workshops in mixed groups with students of Fine Arts from the Academy and students of UA Departments of Architecture, Product Development, Interior Architecture and Heritage.

For whom?
For Master students of the Academy who included 'masterclass 2' (3STPT) in their study programme. There will be no theory lessons nor studio work in these weeks. This allows participating masters to make time and space for new experiences.

Find here the complete program of 20 interdisciplinary workshops.

Composition of the groups?
Each workshop has a fixed number of places reserved for students of the Academy and of the university disciplines, thus creating interdisciplinary groups of 15 to 18 places per workshop, of which two to three places will be available for Academy students.

How and when to register?
This practical information is communicated internally to the students.


(image: IDW 2022)