6-14 October 2017

Design as a Tool for Development

By Lena Kassicieh
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our 2017 theme of ‘movement’ is about raising the collective voice, coming together, collaborating, and joining forces to reimagine a better world through design. Through this theme, we ask the question: how can design be used as a tool for community development and economic sustainability?

The key to successful community development is empowerment. Communities thrive when they are empowered with the right skills, tools, processes, and connections, but more importantly, with the right to be engaged in the design decision making process. Design becomes a tool for conversational exchange, storytelling, and livelihood.


2016 fostered initiatives in economic and social empowerment of women in crafts, making possible the participation of the Women’s Association of Ghor Al Safi, and the Iraq al Amir Women’s Association. Other women’s communities worked closely with Diana Al Rayyan from Kees Chic, learning her techniques to produce the canopies designed by Dina Haddadin. Most recently, the same women’s community in Zarqa who worked to cross-stitch the ‘Entrelac’ installation by Raya Kassisieh and Nader Tehrani of NADAAA, also worked to recycle the installation into blankets, which were then donated to underprivileged families.

Through programs of creative place-making and building learning exchange opportunities, our 2016 community outreach program connected crafts communities and designers across Jordan. Designers demonstrated the potential of design to become a catalyst for communal growth and learning-driven development. 


This year, Amman Design Week is building on these efforts across the country, taking design workshops, pop-up events, and programs to community centers, schools, and universities in other governorates. 

Disarming Design from Palestine

In collaboration with Darat al Funun, Amman Design Week and Disarming Design from Palestine will join forces this 2017 to set up a cultural exchange program and educational workshop that brings together local producers in Palestinian crafts communities and refugee camps with a group of contemporary designers from Jordan, Palestine and the Netherlands.

ADW Mobile MakerSpace

Our MakerSpace is going mobile this year, traveling across Jordan to engage school students, community centers, and others in workshops, pop-up events and demonstration sessions revolving around crafts and making, environmental sustainability, digital fabrication, robotics and other design topics.

Through collective efforts, like our collaboration with Disarming Design for Palestine, our Mobile MakerSpace, and workshops at various educational institutions like INJAZ, our community outreach program seeks to build a culture of design as a means to solve local obstacles, and to continue the efforts in bringing communities closer together.