“With Great Creativity Comes Great Responsibility.” using design for change

Report by: Ilva Mackay, Cape Town TV News

It can be an intentionally isolating industry, like any other, fueled by self interest and protective of its techniques and knowledge; a business with governing trends as fickle as food on a shifting plate.

To quote a former employer: “In this business, it’s all about who you know, and who you’re willing to sleep with.”

This is the world of Design.

For Cape Town to live up to its title of World Design Capital 2014, it would seem, that the design world has started to develop a conscience. As Cape Town prepares for the international design community to descend on the city during the year, the focus will be on how Cape Town can use design to transform the lives of Capetonians.

Using the Design Indaba 2012 not only as a platform to gain insight into what exactly residents would like to see changed in their city, but also as a means to showcase artists who have used design to dramatically change their lives.

Visitors were asked the question: “What does design need to solve for you” and encouraged to post their replies on post –it notes at the World Design Capital 2014 stand. © AnitaVanZyl

Cape Town TV News visited the Woza Moya stand and spoke to Paula Thomson – the facililator of the project which aims to create positive social change by making use of their creative talents.

Woza Moya is a project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust and works with women and men affected by HIV/AIDS, using crafts as a means to generate income. The Centre also offers a feeding scheme, a food garden, skills training and a school fee project to name a few. Over 200 crafters create products ranging from jewellery and conference bags to crochet and ceramic items from recycled material. Their belief is that economic empowerment is an important factor in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it gives the crafters hope for the future

The Hillcrest Aids Centres offers sustainable incomes through green projects

Labour of Love : The famous 'Dreams for Africa Armchair ' won Most Beautiful Object at 2011's Design Indaba

One of the Woza Moya’s most well known product is the Little Traveller – a tiny beaded doll that travels the world spreading a message of love and hope. Each doll has a story to tell as individual crafters give the dolls a unique character. If crafters produce 20 to 50 Little Traveller’s, Paula says “Then that just keeps food on the table, it keeps the lights on and they’ll know that there’ll be water in the taps.”

The Little Travelers provide a steady income for crafters and are sold internationally by Canadian and German students

So as I watch yet another episode of the incredibly pretentious locally produced magazine show –Top Billing – where yet another trendy couple take me on a tour of their dining room explaining:”Uhm… well we like to entertain, so we opted for a double volume space…” or I’m told what the “must have fabric” for the season is, I struggle to find the meaning in my chosen industry.

With an hour of airtime, sponsors coming out of their ears and even a complete empire that extends to the magazine racks in your local supermarket, is this the best that they can do?

Their intentions might be to bring exclusive designs to the average viewer and industry professionals, but all this format does is isolate those of us who weren’t taught the difference between the frothy pastel palette of the Rococo era and the organic whiplash of the Art Nouveau movement.

Even they should know that, that is so last season…

(To view CTV News’ Design Indaba story package, visit our youtube channel at: http://bit.ly/HWfk9Z)

2 Responses to ““With Great Creativity Comes Great Responsibility.” using design for change”
  1. donsynet says:

    great article ilva, i like it, sensitive comment though by the former employer, lol

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