In a co-creation process between students of product design at UdK and pupils from Love School in the Slum Kangemi in Nairobi, Kenya, designs have been created that focus on craft, material understanding and form development. Both cultural environments served as sources of knowledge and inspiration. A variety of multifaceted object with hybrid aesthetics have come into being that evince an autarchic identity both as high end products as well as DIY variation. Experiments and developments were done with porcelain, clay, plaster, fine metal, fibre, sisal, veneer, plastic bags, PET bottles, corrugated sheet metal and bulk trash.
Besides the design process the question of value of those materials, the necessity of new products and the relation to a global social context was reflected. The students became teachers of their own by continuously reflecting their own process and to then pass on a simplified version to the children. The children on the other hand participated in the design and problem solving process and thus experienced an increasing awareness of self-efficacy as well as ownership concerning the final sale of the designed objects. The revenue serves the purchase of a piece of land for the continuously displaced Love School Center which will be cleared out once again due to speculation.
So additionally to the financial support of the school in Nairobi the goal of the project was diverse: it was an attempt to test development work as a co-creation process. It sensitized the students to see their work as a creative service in a client relationship and it offered the kids from the Love School Center the opportunity to cooperate with the students and participate in the purchase of new grounds. For all participants this project was and will be an inspiring, mind expanding experience.
-Susanne Stauch, March 2017