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Design for Social Change

The minor Design for Social Change focuses on social design. You will design solutions for social challenges, focusing on themes such as poverty reduction, equality, clean water, transport, climate or waste. 

You work in interdisciplinary teams. You can take on a role as a designer, but also as a project manager, programmer or director. You investigate the theme you have chosen and you explore possible future scenarios. Your joint vision can be expressed in many forms - presentations, text, film, animation, installations or objects.

You will learn to make the results of your project and research (visually) clear to a wide audience. The products have social added value, are concrete, innovative and tell a story. During the project you will experience how you can position yourself in relation to various stakeholders.

The environment of a University of the Arts is inspiring and offers you the necessary facilities, knowledge and contacts to work hands-on with issues that concern everyone. We work with thematic week programs and challenges.

The focus within this minor is on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include poverty reduction, equality, clean water, transport, climate and waste.

In this minor the Frame Innovation method of Kees Dorst is central. He was appointed in 2018 as an advisor to the UNDP, the UN organization that has to help achieve the 17 development goals set by the UN. The steps from this model will be followed in blocks of two weeks per theme and always end with a meeting in which results are discussed with problem owners. One of the clients is What Design Can Do.

The bi-weekly themes are:

  • Archaeology and architecture
  • Learning to identify paradoxes
  • Building contexts by de-framing
  • Field expansion (new players/game changers)
  • Theme research/ re-framing by means of design-thinking
  • Developing new frames and rapid prototyping
  • Game changing: futures, what is needed for transformation and integration in the organisation
  • Final presentation


Learning objectives

On completion of the minor, you will be able to:

  1. Apply the Frame Innovation methodology and a wide range of research methods;
  2. Realize an innovative and appropriate possible solution path for a stakeholder’s issue, which ensues logically from the research process;
  3. Give a presentation of the research process you have gone through, and design and implement an intervention with partners, at a knowledge-sharing event;
  4. Reflect on the research methodology carried out, the collaboration process and your own professional identity within them.



To qualify for this minor, you need:

  • to have a first-year diploma;
  • to be able to communicate and make presentations in English.

For the admissions procedure, we ask you to submit a number of things:

  • Write a brief motivation letter (max. 1 A4), showing that you are socially committed. What have you made, written or organized or what would you like to do? Have you worked on something as a student or volunteer? Tell us what you want to research and learn in this minor and how you would like to contribute practically to the design team.
  • Compile a concise CV. Show who you are, what you can do and what you have done.
  • Send some of your own work (if you have any) that relates to the topic, in image, text, audio, video, drawings, photos or any other medium that fits with your way of working.


Dorst, K. (2015). Frame Innovation: Create New Thinking by Design. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


Three fixed days of lessons (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), the other days of self-study.

A fixed working pattern is used. During each week you will have regular lectures, receive process supervision and training in research skills, and give presentations.

Absence or lack of effort can affect the results. It may lead to a lower grading on one or more assessment criteria. There may also be situations in which the student cannot be assessed at all on one or more of the assessment criteria.

Take into account an amount of approximately 100 euros for excursions.


Assessment criteria

  • Report with file (group)
  • Organisation of the knowledge-sharing event (group),
  • Reflection report (individual)

Aanvullende informatie

• In this interview you can read about Demi's experiences with this minor
Read more about this minor on the website of HKU