Art and Design as Social Fabric

Part of the Arts, Research, Innovation and Society book series (ARIS)


This paper describes art and design and its capacities as inspiration for innovation processes and interference in societal affairs at times of crisis and change. In a form of a case study as an example, a general approach will be described, how art and design can engage with human needs and co-develop innovative solutions with specific target groups. Deriving from interdisciplinary approaches, students used design- (arts-) based research, art & design as social fabric. One of the main objectives was designing shelter for the human body and evoking emotion through material. Various layers of material were explored through subjective perception, exploration of different technologies, participatory and sensual research, problem solving strategies applied and analyzed by cultural and emotional codes in cooperation with inhabitants of Women’s Shelters. New textile objects were created as Ist-analysis of need and association of shelter, which can be considered as textile archive for future. Either interior design for inhabitants of Women’s Shelters or refugees can rely on outcomes or designing “survival kits” for target groups like women who have been victims of domestic violence a, refugees or victims of the global crisis a situation every one of us may wake up tomorrow. Education at tertiary level can facilitate new approaches and interdisciplinary teamwork. Collaboration with less well-off social groups, protection of users, consumers, environment and citizen participation allow students new experiences and empower societal responsibility. They develop tolerances and learn to negotiate. Through designing and documenting cooperative workshops as well as own artistic design work, arts and design-based research develops innovative insights and solutions for students and empower disadvantaged target groups.


Arts & design based research Education Health Shelter Participatory Sensual research Education Empowerment Innovation Women 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Applied Arts ViennaViennaAustria

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