Holistic Design and the Aesthetics of Relationship


This paper provides a reflection on collaborative practices in art and design that aim at social and ecological sustainability taking the project Neve Insular as a starting point. This project began on the island of Mindelo, Cape Verde, in 2018, from implementation of the cotton cycle and in the context of the preservation of the material and immaterial cultural heritage linked to the Cape Verdean panú di téra. Since then, it has been promoting agro-ecology workshops, with the collaboration of schools, carding and spinning workshops, as well as artistic residencies, bringing together craftsmen, designers and artists. Underlying a concept of holistic design, these activities do not aim at product design but at fostering sharing networks and contributing to a circular economy and behavioural change towards greater sustainability. The process - i.e. the interactions between people, institutions, raw material and traditional knowledge - is considered a work of art in itself: initiated by the authors, they partially relinquish autocratic control over production with a view to sustainability and as a basic orientation the holistic system, from the production of the cotton, to its use, exchange and consumption. At this juncture, these expanded practices of art and design are political in the sense that they operate a different configuration of the visible and the describable and, consequently, of the feasible, not considering the individual as the sovereign and only being endowed with agency, but also accepting the agency of the elements of nature and of social creativity through a process of horizontal collaboration.


Ana Da Silva
Invited Adjunct Professor, Arts, Lisbon School of Education, Lisboa, Portugal


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Collaboration, Social sustainability, Ecological Sustainability, Neve Insular, Cape Verde

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