"Can Design Save the World?"

Professor Anne Dutlinger speaks at international design conference.

Designers and other artists have the power to create change—important changes that can lead to more sustainable communities and a more sustainable planet, suggests Anne Dutlinger, associate professor and chair of the Moravian art department.

Professor Dutlinger was invited to speak about sustainability as a component of design education ("Trash, Desire, and Consequences: Can Design Save the World?") to the more than 700 attendees of "In a Planet of Our Own: a vision of sustainability from across six continents," an interdisciplinary conference held November 3-7 in Mumbai, India. She also led a three-day design workshop on sustainability for students (selected through competition); the student workshops culminated with conference presentations. Professor Dutlinger was the only American speaker at the conference.

Professor Anne Dutlinger led a three-day student workshop on sustainable design at the "In a Planet of Our Own" conference in Mumbai, India, November 3-7, 2009.

"Sustainability is about much more than energy consumption and waste," said Professor Dutlinger. "This conference featured speakers from all disciplines and they talked about all aspects of sustainability—from the decisions designers make on packaging to their role in sustaining indigenous communities." The speakers addressed topics on industrial design, architecture, incubation projects for sustainable innovation, networking, and more.

Professor Dutlinger suggests the works of two fellow speakers as models for using design to promote sustainability: Do Good Design: How Designers Can Change the World, a book by Canadian designer David Berman; and the Honey Bee Network, a knowledge network for augmenting grassroots innovation founded by Anil Gupta—who "clearly demonstrates that grassroots efforts can have an enormous impact."

The conference was co-sponsored by the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at the Indian Institute of Technology, India Design Association (InDeAs), and DesignInIndia.net.