Make Transformation Tangible

By Design or by Disaster Conference, 11-14 April 2019, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Designers are making things tangible, literally and metaphorically. This is of particular importance in times, where on the one hand complexity often seems to be overwhelming, while on the other hand (fake) oversimplification, anxiety and superficiality in hyper-accelerated media are threatening democracy. It is a challenge for designers to create visualizations, physicalizations, and environments that reduce complexity without trivializing things but empower people to confront complexity in creative ways – in analogue spaces, digital spheres, and their overlaps.

Eco-social designers want to contribute to a much-needed transformation of the relations among humans and between humans and nature, in order to move towards more sustainable, non-alienated, resilient, just and equitable futures. This embraces a myriad of changes of producing, distributing and consuming, of living and working together, of societies, economies, and cultures. As a whole, this can be called the big eco-social transformation.

Designers can drive, enable, inspire and support such progressive eco-social changes. They can co-create concrete utopias of inclusive, open and sustainable societies, as contemporary practices and as tangible future visions. They can (co-)design environments, where people can imagine, experience and experiment such futures. This is important in times where negative narrations create an atmosphere of fear, hopelessness, and powerlessness, triggered by apocalyptic fiction, dystopian science fiction, terrible news all the time, and by serious reports and publications on multiple crises and disasters to come. But the disastrous developments should call for action, not resignation. There is a need for positive future trajectories that motivate, reinstall hope and the ability to “do something” now.


Designers together with others can make transformation concrete, imaginable, tangible and enjoyable!



transformation design, co-creation, eco-social transformation, social design, transition design, design for social innovation, future concepts …


Is this a conference for you?

Are you a …

Student of design, design practitioner, design researcher, transformation practitioner, transformation researcher, transformation advocate and activist, transformation realist, academic with a focus on sustainability-related issues, social enterprise, activist, entrepreneur or citizen interested in sustainable living arrangements …


Schedule | Registration  (normal | free for students)



The below listed fees include your 4-day conference ticket (including workshops) and meals (afternoon tea and coffee breaks).

Students: Free.
Please register here.

Teachers and researchers at unibz: 50 €

Please open a PIS-procedure and inform the university administration by sending an email to:

Folks with a decent income*: 90 €
Please register here.

Costs EXCLUDED from this fee:

– Lunch and dinner in Bozen-Bolzano (lunch is offered at a price of 9 € in the university canteen, dinner is privately organized in one of the city center restaurants)

– Excursion to Mals-Malles on Saturday/Sunday (transfer from Bozen-Bolzano to Mals-Malles and return, overnight stay, catering)

* if you have no »decent income«, please ask for a reduction via email.



Below are some accommodation suggestions, sorted by price (from low to high):

Stay in Bozen-Bolzano:

Students Room: We try to organize that students from Bozen-Bolzano host students from elsewhere. Please contact us, if you are a student and need a place to stay.

Hostels: Bolzano Youth Hostel| Airbnb | bookingbolzano | Bed and Breakfast

Hotels: Hotel Luna-Mondschein |  Feichter  with special prices for guests who are staying at Hotel Feichter (provide the code “dod19” when booking your room to receive an agreed price)

Stay in Mals in Vinschgau / Malles Venosta from Saturday to Sunday:

We are organizing a low-cost accommodation option for students and all others who bring a sleeping bag to Mals-Malles. If interested, please ask us. Otherwise, we recommend to book a room in Hotel Gasthof Grauer Bär or Hotel Zum Hirschen.



Bozen-Bolzano can be reached by train, car, and air.

Here is a useful link to help you plan your best route to South Tyrol.

Please enter at the main entrance of the University (building A). Signs will guide you to the conference (in building C4-F4)

By rail

One of the best ways to get to Bolzano is by train: the station is only a few minutes walk from the university campus!

For information about connections to Germany, please visit the Italian, Austrian or German railway websites.

By car

How to move in Bozen-Bolzano?

The university campus is located in the city center. We suggest using public transport to get to in Bozen-Bolzano. All distances within the town are easily walkable and public buses are affordable. If you would like to come by car you should use public parking garages. Finding a parking spot in the city is very challenging and not recommended.

ATTENTION! Since May 2014 the access to the city center of Bolzano Bozen is under video surveillance. Please follow the signage to the parking places and do not overstep the barriers in order to avoid the sanction. For parking, please follow the electronic indications at the main entrances of the city.

Arriving from the south

We suggest to take the motorway exit “Bolzano Sud” and to park your car at the Fair (1300 lots). From there you find public busses to the center every 15 minutes or the train every 30 minutes.

Arriving from the north

We suggest to take the motorway exit “Bolzano Nord” and to park at the parking “Bolzano Centro”, which is only a few minutes walking from the center.

You can find a list of public parking lots here and further information on parking for caravans here.

By air

The nearest international airports are Innsbruck in the north and Verona in the south. The other airports including Bergamo, Treviso, Venice, and Munich are over 200 km away (or four hours by rail).

You can find further information on the Bozen-Bolzano airport here and a list of car rental options here.

If you cannot avoid flying to attend the conference, we kindly ask you to compensate for the CO2 equivalent.

Transfer from Bozen-Bolzano to Mals in Vinschgau/Malles in Venosta

Here is the link to the Italian railway website.

Tickets from Bozen-Bolzano to Mals-Malles cost 13.50 € one way. Group tickets are available here. If you intend to stay longer in South-Tyrol a 7 or 3-day Mobilcard might be worth your while.



We thank the sponsors Südtirolwein and Hans Sauer Stiftung for their support.




Web & Contact

If you have any queries, please get in touch: |


Conference Coordination Team

Kris >< Krois, Clara Gulde, with the support of other students of the Master in Eco-Social Design

Consultants: Alastair Fuad-Luke, Alvise Mattozzi, and Sabina Frei

unibz event management: Massimo Eccli


Want to find out more about our past conferences?

201820172016 2015 2013

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