Convened by U-M Public Design Corps, "Size Up" is a full-day experimental symposium dedicated to exploring the multiplicity of activities and inquiries conceived to yield positive change across the design disciplines. Once set against the backdrop of social transition, political reckoning, and ecological crisis, social practice progressively gained momentum among practitioners seeking a less client-dependent, capital-intensive approach to work and production. More recently, however, a growing self-awareness around the contradictions of institutionally sanctioned, solutionist rhetoric and the challenge of arriving at a common good has driven the category into a state of reflection, if not crisis. This symposium brings together leading researchers, practitioners, and scholars to engage in dialogue around ways to meaningfully intervene. Assembling current and emergent strains of thinking in social practice, participants will address and disentangle conundrums around communality, universalism, pluralism, liberal democracy, and social justice. Through a comparative lens, the symposium will critically explore social design’s capacities to deliver transformative outcomes at a decisive scale.
Equal parts scholarly gathering and action-based happening, "Size Up" will directly examine the tools and processes to sponsor more flexible, horizontal and engaging modes of collective participation through a series of concordant workshops. "Size Up" will feature Detroit artist/activist-led workshops, live music, and a moderated panel discussion between Taubman faculty and leading experts in Public Interest Design from around the globe.
This symposium continues the tradition of honoring the humanitarian work of Raoul Wallenberg, a Taubman College alumnus distinguished for his courageous actions in German-occupied Hungary during World War II.