The University of Johannesburg (UJ) DESIS Lab is an inter-disciplinary design laboratory committed to promoting positive social innovation and emerging sustainable ways of living. Since its acceptance into the global DESIS family in 2014, the UJ DESIS Lab has sought to promote these value through a number of practical, research and educational initiatives.
2021, signals the spiritual relaunch of the UJ DESIS Lab with a new name (formall, we were called the ‘Design Society Development (DSD) DESIS LAB) and a new web-site (with more content to be added soon!)
As a DESIS Lab, our work is premised on the following four principles

  1. SOCIAL INNOVATION Social innovation is a process of change emerging from the creative re-combination of existing assets (social capital, historical heritage traditional craftsmanship, accessible advanced technology) and aiming at achieving socially recognised goals in new ways. As such social innovation is driven by social demands rather than by the market and/or autonomous techno-scientific research, and generated in partnership with communities.
  2. EMERGING SUSTAINABLE WAYS OF LIVING Initiatives propose viable solutions to and/or raise awareness of the numerous highly complex problems currently facing humanity. These issues align strongly with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (e.g., social cohesion, urban regeneration, healthy food accessibility, water and sustainable energy management).
  3. DESIGN FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION While we recognise that many of these complex problems operate at a scale that requires broad and focused interventions, involving multiple stakeholders and, as such ,often extending beyond the domain of Design, at the Joburg Desis lab we believe design can play a critical role in projection and prototyping alternative sustainable and meaningful ways of being in the world to the ones presented as inevitable by late-capitalism.
  4. DESIGN SCHOOLS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE Located in FADA, the UJ DESIS Lab believes tertiary design education institutions have the potential to act as design laboratories where new visions for our human and planetary futures can be generated, where new tools and methods can be defined and tested, and new collaborations initiated and nurtured.

Should you wish to be added to our mailing list or would like to contact the DESIS Lab, please, contact: tfenn@uj.ac.za