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case studies
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International Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art
Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; European Cultural Foundation

Diane Warburton of Shared Practice was the keynote speaker at this international symposium. The event aimed to create a transdisciplinary space for discussion of the issues bridging the fields of art and environment, and provide an opportunity for a wide range of leading international artists to describe their work in response to the challenge of sustainability.

Diane Warburton opened the symposium by presenting the context of sustainable development, aiming to inform discussion on the creative challenge sustainability brings to contemporary artistic practice.

The presentation covered three key areas:
• What sustainable development is, and how the idea has developed over the years - with some thoughts on the tensions that have always existed even within the basic concept.
• Emerging themes of community participation and other forms of politics around sustainable development (protest, consumerism, private sector initiatives).
• Where we are now, as sustainability campaigns are focusing as much on changing personal values, behaviour and lifestyles as on trying to change international policy.

download arrowTranslocal Institute for Contemporary Art
pdfPresentation text
pdfPowerpoint presentation

The Bösendorfer Design Award
Co-sponsors: Bösendorfer and Egger

Since the 19th century Bösendorfer has been producing individual pianos for clients and institutions across the world. Over the years many designers have worked for Bösendorfer, eg Josef Hoffmann, Hans Hollein and Porsche Design (shown below, opposite).

The Bösendorfer Piano Design Award, awarded for the first time in 2006, aimed to encourage design professionals and students to either design a new grand piano, or design an appropriate acoustic space for a grand piano.

Chaired by Nigel Ordish of Shared Practice, the prizewinners were selected by a jury of independent experts whose competences include music, design, product development and acoustic engineering:

•   Ferdinand Bräu, Technical Director, Bösendorfer, Vienna
•   Roland Heiler, Managing Director, Porsche Design Studio
•   Michael Kitzinger, Instrument Designer and Professor of Music, Vienna
•   Nigel Ordish (Chair), Senior Partner, Shared Practice, UK
•   Peter Willensdorfer, Acoustics Designer, Vienna

The Bösendorfer Design Awards were given at an exhibition of selected entries at the New Design Festival ’06 at the Museumsquartier, Vienna. (Stefan Konrad's student award winner shown opposite.)

pdfAwards report

Environment Agency Joining Up Project
Environment Agency, Social Policy Team (2001-2006)

The Environment Agency is the national Government agency responsible for the protection and enhancement of the environment in England. In 2001, a research consortium led by Ian Christie began a major research study, ‘Joining Up’, to clarify the nature and extent of the social dimension of the Environment Agency’s work. The team also included Diane Warburton of Shared Practice, Sue Pritchard and David Wilkinson.

Diane led the second phase of this major research and development project to support and develop links on social policy and social issues across the Environment Agency, with specific responsibility for project strands on social appraisal, social initiatives within the Agency, and for completing a detailed literature review. The published research outcomes are listed below:

Literature Review
The project research began with an overview of the social issues that were most relevant to the Environment Agency's work. In particular, the report provides background to the Environment Agency’s commitment to understanding social issues and to developing a social policy.

pdfLiterature Review

Social Appraisal Criteria
During 2003 the Environment Agency developed an integrated appraisal process to assess the risks and benefits of new policies, projects and programmes. The Joining Up Project took this opportunity to develop a new set of criteria for assessing the social impacts of its work, and the social processes involved, as part of embedding the Agency's new social policy and meeting its sustainable development obligations. The report describes the research and development of a set of criteria for social appraisal for the Agency.

pdfSocial Appraisal Report
pdfSocial Appraisal Summary
Local and Community Strategic Partnerships Pathfinder
The aim of this pathfinder was to support the Environment Agency in maximising the benefits of engaging with Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) in England and Community Strategic Partnerships (CSPs) in Wales. The work was undertaken using a participatory approach to developing guidance, staff development, and sharing of good practice.
pdfLSPs Pathfinder Report
pdfLSPs Pathfinder Summary

Product design research and development
Austrian Trade Commission

A design research project to examine areas of innovative practice in contemporary product and furniture design which could influence the viable future development of traditional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) creating wood-based products in central Europe.

The project brought together examples of recent design development in the UK, selecting SMEs who have chosen to concentrate on local production, and who offer customisation in their designs to meet a desire for individualism.

The research was concluded within the context of the following key issues:

•   Design and new creative technologies
•   Design and sustainability
•   Design for business and export
•   Design for new lifestyles
•   Design and enterprise
•   Design to create new markets

The project was presented at the Austrian Trade Commission, London, to a new network of SMEs working on the production of wood based products in the Tirolean area of Austria.

Thinking about the future of design
New Design University, Austria

The first lecture was in the form of an illustrated overview of the key issues that face contemporary design practice and education, underpinning issues proposed for subsequent lectures to include:

• Design and sustainability: ethics, aesthetics and commerce
• Design in a new world order: local and global needs
• Design production: materials, customisation and individuality

The lecture illustrates a range of products which have aimed to marry ethical and aesthetic issues over the last 25 years - from food to furniture - making reference to Nigel Ordish's pioneering and award winning work in designing products to monitor domestic resource consumption (see opposite: CEDRIC, c.1980),

The lecture incorporated work resulting from discussion with Bob Willard, a leading expert on sustainability strategies. The illustration opposite demonstrates the 'iceberg' theory, used to explain the growing importance of corporate reputations in which a company's perceived intangible worth (eg reputation) has changed from being 17% in 1981 to 71% of its total value in 1998.

The lecture ended by contrasting statistics from the developing world, in particular China's consumption of resources and reduced costs which enable it to produce most of the world's products - posing questions about need, individualism, niche markets and local or global design.

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