Doors of Perception is to be part of a year-long festival of social innovation and service design, in the UK, called Designs of the Time, or Dott. Throughout 2007, the whole North East region of the UK will explore ways we can carry out familiar, daily-life activities in new ways. Dott, an initiative of the Design Council and the region’s development agency, One North East (ONE) is about how an entire region might accelerate its transition to a less-stuff-more-people world. Software systems to help us share resources, and collaborate, will play an important part in this transition, but objects and technology will play a supporting role in Dott. And new principles – above all, sustainability – will inform the ways products and systems are designed, made, used, and looked after.
As programme director of Dott (since a couple of weeks ago) my task is to help communities throughout the North East region select, shape and run public commissions. The region, I have already discovered, is bursting with creative, radical and innovative grassroots projects. Dott will link these people and projects together, and thereby help the whole region emerge as a situated and distributed design school and lab.
Helped by the BBC (radio, tv and websites) and local newspapers, and working with grassroots networks, we will engage with communities throughout the North East to determine what issues and projects are most important for them.This process will feed into the Dott programme as it takes final shape during the spring of 2006.
This is one way the Doors of Perception network will be involved. We need connect projects in Dott with other projects in different parts of the world, and your help on this will be crucial. The climax of Dott will be an event in October 2007 called “The Creative Community Awards” (or “The Commies”) at which all the year’s projects will come together to show what they achieved and to discuss what they learned. Doors will play a substantial role in that. At the same time, we will continue to develop plans for Doors of Perception 9, also in 2007, which will once again be a co-production in India with our friends at Centre for Knowledge Societies. And the Doors of Perception Report (this newsletter) and the Doors website/blog will continue as usual.
Designs of the time is not about telling people in the North East of England how to live. On the contrary: its purpose is to enable local people- interacting with inspiring and visionary guests from around the world – to develop their own visions and scenarios for a sustainable region. In that sense, Dott is in the acorns business. Its most valuable legacy will be the people who stay behind, the projects they have started, and the design producer networks that develop as a result of its impetus.
A brochure website for Dott is online now. Sign up there for a free newsletter. A new Dott website will be launched in the new year.