Design and Social Innovation in Asia Pacific (DESIAP)
Dr Yoko Akama
DESIAP 2015, took place at the National Design Centre, Singapore, and heralded the DESIAP platform led by RMIT University and Northumbria University as a place for practitioners in this region working in the field of Social Innovation to coalesce. DESIAP 2015 attracted an international audience of over 150 academics, policy makers and practitioners across its two days. This signalled a strong interest and opportunity for Design for Social Innovation in the region.
DESIAP 2016, held at Thailand Creative and Design Centre, Bangkok, is the second symposium to bring together a range of practitioners and researchers of design and social innovation around Asia-Pacific. Reflected in the term, ‘The Asian 21st Century’ by economists and political theorists, developing economies in Asia are projected to outpace developed economies in Europe. According to the Australian Government Trade Commission report (AUSTRADE, 2015), the ASEAN-5’s (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) GDP growth far outstrips that of the Euro zone. Australia is entering its 24th year of uninterrupted economic growth, with GDP projection higher than that for the US, UK and Europe. This shifting economic climate is a significant factor in the growing attention towards the Asia-Pacific region as an emerging global leader.
DESIAP 2016 symposium and workshop is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Network. It aims to establish an international research network on an emerging and relatively undocumented field of design and social innovation in this region by creating a platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building. Led by Joyce Yee (Northumbria University) and Yoko Akama (RMIT University), DESIAP 2016 event also brought together leading researchers in the UK, US and Asia-Pacific to bring design and social innovation into international and comparative focus to explore cultural nuances, conditions and relational dimensions when people are embarking on change.