The point of departure for the first inquiry is the Bauhaus’ utopian aspiration to create a new society through design. To what extent has this aspiration been realised? Or do we ascribe a greater effectiveness to designers than is really the case? On the one hand, today this aspiration is adopted unreflected in the design disciplines. On the other, society is keen to project the resolution of unresolved questions, conflicts of interests and contradictions on to designers and artists as redeeming experts, rather than face up to the task itself. Do we actually want design to change society? And, all things considered, which contemporary design practices come close to these utopian ideas?
The pressing concerns of societal transformation – growth crises and shrinkage, climate change, the energy turnaround, ageing, digitalisation, etc. – require us to think about possible and desirable futures, despite our lack of knowledge and uncertainty about what is to come. With the crisis in utopian thought in the last third of the twentieth century, long-term and large-scale developments fell into disrepute. How can we now imagine shaping new and different forms of change and the future? What are the target-orientated, but open-ended, forms of work? What role does co-production play? How can we influence the development logic of ongoing modernisation and inscribe it with emancipatory ideas? How do we deal with transcultural questions in global processes?