21 April 2020

Design challenge: the role of non-humans in our society

Ever thought about the role and responsibilities of non-humans in our society? The DesignLab/PhilosophyLab at the University of Twente invites students at all Dutch universities to take part in the Latour design challenge Welcome to the Parliament of Things.  The objective of the challenge is to think – and to design – while taking account of the interests of plants, animals, microbes and other non-humans. For the purposes of this challenge, the DesignLab/PhilosophyLab is collaborating with the Embassy of the North Sea and the International Spinozaprijs Foundation.

Political actors
In the early nineteen nineties, the French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour formulated the innovative idea that we must view non-humans – animals, plants, microbes and ecosystems – as political actors. They too should be given a voice in our democratic systems. His call for a ‘parliament of things ’ today appears more urgent than ever, as the Earth seems to be ‘hitting back’ with forest fires, melting icecaps, biodiversity decline and pandemics.

Spinozalens
The background to the design challenge is the presentation of the Spinozalens, an international biennial prize for thinkers who have made an important contribution to society. The Spinozalens 2020 will be awarded to Bruno Latour (1949). The jury of the Spinozalens 2020 praised Latour as a pioneering thinker who has helped place the relationship between technology, human behaviour and sustainability on the agenda.

More information
Register for the challenge at the latest by May 8th via info@ambassadevandenoordzee.nl. Remember to mention the university at which you are studying and your degree course. After May 8th, more information will be published about the design challenge together with a literature list and information for each case on www.ambassadevandenoordzee.nl.