Memefest Cuba! Change in Everyday Life: Dialogue and Critique through Design in our Times | oliver's blogpost @ Memefest
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Memefest Cuba! Change in Everyday Life: Dialogue and Critique through Design in our Times

Memefest Workshop: Change in Everyday Life: Dialogue and Critique through Design in our Times

Instituto Superior de Disegno, Havana, June 19-25.

Dr George Petelin (Griffith University, Queensland College of Art & Memefest)
Dr Oliver Vodeb (Swinburne University of Technology & Memefest)

Participants: Approx. 20

The five day workshop is aimed at students, academics and professionals. While a communication design workshop it is interdisciplinary and welcomes students and academics and professionals from other areas as well.

The workshop will have a research phase, a production phase and implementation phase. Works created (for example posters) will be implemented in the public space.


The Aim of this workshop is to establish a process for designing visual communications and situations that generate productive dialogue in response to social change.

This methodology adopts three main principles

a) that visual communications must be based on rigorous research,
b) that the research and production should be carried out collaboratively,
c) that the outcomes should be focused towards a sustainable society as well as a critical reflection on the discipline of Design in the light of its social role.


‘Change in Everyday Life: Critique and Dialogue through Design in Our Times’ adopts the premise that changes in society can be better embraced and managed through more informed, more sincere, more adventurous, more imaginative and more open communication: in short, through authentic dialogue on a human level.

Everyday life is the terrain of constant change on an intimate as well as social level. Dialogue is often displaced by advertising and propaganda colonizing everyday life.

Critical design is therefore crucial in order to establish cultures of dialogue.

The majority of communication design as practiced in western democracies serves instrumental interests of the market and is reproducing predatory neoliberal capitalism (van Toorn 1998, 2010, Vodeb 2008). In his paper, Sustainability as a project of history, Clive Dilnot states: ‘Sustainability is that which most cruelly exposes design. Nothing reveals more sharply both the necessity and inconsequentiality of design: its (absolute) necessity as capacity, and its almost complete irrelevance as a value, or indeed as a profession’ (Dilnot 2011).

Design education mostly produces designers as service providers who do not have the capabilities to seriously confront the urgent issues of radical uncertainty and environmental degradation, which are defining conditions of today’s societies.

In a historic moment of change this Memefest workshop will confront the capitalist and socialist design paradigms and seek generative potentials through dialogue and critique.

What is it that we can learn from Western design’s mistakes and what potential might it still have? In this light, what can be learned from Cuba’s unique perspective on Design? How can we think about dialogue and change in times when capitalism and socialism start to speak openly and publicly to each other again? What changes are emerging from this, and what changes will create sustainable economies and nurture and develop truly sustainable design practice?

With the understanding that change is a generative principle, the workshop will explore how Design might make change more positive and productive through creating opportunities for dialogue in the realm of everyday life.


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7 years, 11 months ago

U.S.-Cuba deal expected in early July to restore ties, reopen embassies

7 years, 11 months ago

Good luck with the workshop!!!

7 years, 11 months ago

I want to be there!!!!

7 years, 11 months ago

El taller fue un éxito, excelente trabajo de Oliver y George, gracias por invitarme a compartir el aula con ustedes.





Oliver Vodeb






I am a member of Memefest communication/art/theory Kolektiv, and founder, curator and editor of Memefest Festival of Socially Responsive Communication and Art. Iam also facilitator of Memefest online social network.

I am an Academic at RMIT University, Melbourne. I teach and research mostly in the field of communication design. I approach design/communication from a critical inter/ extradisciplinary perspective and I investigate theoretical, strategic, conceptual and "hands on" practice.

I enjoy working in many different media including visual and text.

Books I have published :

This was my studio in Slovenia (2004-2012):

CV (sort of):

You can read some of my texts here:

I have joined the Memfest community becasue i am interested in

I have been here from the very beginning of Memefest. I am interested in communication/design for social and environmental change.
I name such communication socially responsive communication.

Broadly speaking I am interested in visual communication, photography, sociological aspects of communication, design and media.

Iam interested in institutionalised forms of communication like for example communication done by design/communication studios and advertising agencies as well as non institutionalised forms of communication like tactical media or broader aspects of media activism.

In a slightly more academic language:

I am interested in how critical social theory can illuminate the complex processes of production, distribution and reception of public (visual) communication in order to generate public communication as a responsible social, political, economic and cultural practice.

I am particularly interested in relations between concepts of response-ability and communication effectiveness, and the social construction of design and other forms of pubic communication as profession, practice and praxis within academia, the market environments and non-institutionalised communities.


was studiing at Faculty for social sciences University of Ljubljana


PhD in sociology of communication and design

Working place

RMIT University, School of Design, Master of Communication Design

Music I like

Flamming Lips, Pixies, The Black Crowes, Demeter, Porno for Pyros, Ry Cooder, Junior Kimbrough, Townes van Zandt, T-model Ford, The Dirty Three, Bonnie Prince Billy, Primus, Faith no More, Bob Dylan, RHCP, Alice Donut, Faith no more, Mark Lanegan, Reigning Sound, Total Control;

Books I like

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, A Confederacy of Dunces, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, PanikHerz...;

Films I like

The man who wasn't there, No country for old man, Genova, Zidane a 21st century portrait, There will be blood, Il Postino, Festen, Straight Story, Wild at heart, White Ribbon, Dog tooth;

Communication projects I like

I like stuff we did at Poper studio. I like posters from Inkahoots. I like the zine project 23/56 from Kevin. I like many things that were submitted to Memefest, I like stuff from Cactusnetwork, I like the work of Image-shift.

Websites I like,,,,,,,,,,,,

People I like

My dear family and my wonderful friends.