same as it ever was
VENICE / 19.5.2023

Kick-off discussion

The discussion will address challenges, future paths and the transformative potential of design and architectural education.

The discursive program kicks off during the pre-opening of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice on Friday, May 19 at 11:00 at Croatian Pavilion in Arsenale, with an opening discussion between Harriet Harriss (Pratt Institute, New York), James Auger (Crap Futures, ENS Paris Saclay), and Martin Ávila (Konstfack, Stockholm), moderated by Ivica Mitrović (SpeculativeEdu, University of Split).

Traditional design vs Speculative design (Mitrović & Šuran, 2015)

The discursive part of the Croatian Pavilion disperses the highlights and topics of the “Same as it Ever Was” project towards educational and local environments. The workshops and discussions will take place in Venice, Ljubljana, Split, Motovun, Milan and Lonja Wetlands. The result of the program will be published in a book to be promoted at the end of the Biennale, as a retroactive account of the discussions, workshops, case studies and reflections. 

Harriet Harriss is a researcher at Pratt Institute and a former Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture in New York. She led the Architecture Research Programs at the Royal College of Art in London. Her teaching, research, and writing focus on pioneering new pedagogic models for design education, and for widening participation in architecture to ensure it remains as diverse as the society it seeks to serve. Harriss has won various awards including a Brookes Teaching Fellowship, a Higher Education Academy Internationalisation Award, a Churchill Fellowship, two Santander Fellowships, two Diawa awards, and a NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and Art) Pioneer Award. Harriss was awarded a Clore Fellowship for cultural leadership (2016-17) and elected to the European Association of Architectural Education Council in 2017.

James Auger is the director of the department of design at the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (ENS) and co-director of the Centre de Recherche en Design, a laboratory jointly run by ENS and ENSCI Les Ateliers. His practice-based design research examines the social, cultural and personal impacts of technology and the products that exist as a result of its development and application. Running parallel to his academic work James is a partner in the speculative design practice Auger-Loizeau, a collaboration founded in 2000. Auger-Loizeau projects have been published and exhibited internationally, including MoMA, New York; 21_21, Tokyo; The Science Museum, London; The National Museum of China, Beijing and Ars Electronica, Linz. Their work is in the permanent collection at MoMA. James is co-author of Crap Futures, a blog he writes with Julian Hanna on subjects relating to design, futures, innovation, politics and technology.

Martín Ávila is a designer, researcher, and Professor of Design at Konstfack, the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden, where he is artistic leader for Design and responsible for the MA Design Ecologies. His PhD work (Devices. On Hospitality, Hostility and Design), was awarded the 2012 prize for design research by The Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education. His postdoctoral project Symbiotic tactics (2013-2016) has been the first of its kind to be financed by the Swedish Research Council.
Martin’s research is design-driven and addresses tensions in interspecies cohabitation. He is currently working on a collaborative project entitled “Material Cultures for Interspecies Cohabitation”, also financed by the Swedish Research Council (2023-2026). His latest book Designing for Interdependence: A Poetics of Relating was published by Bloomsbury in October 2022.

Ivica Mitrović is the associate professor and Head of the Department of Visual Communications Design at the Arts Academy University of Split. Since 2001 he has been dealing with the reflexive role of design in society via critical and speculative design practice. Together with Oleg Šuran, he was the curator for the presentation of the Republic of Croatia at The XXI International Exhibition of the Triennale di Milano (2016). He also co-edited the accompanying booklet “Speculative – Post-Design Practice or New Utopia?”. He was vice president of the Croatian Designer Association and a steering committee member (2013 –2016). Recently he was the coordinator of the Erasmus+ project SpeculativeEdu (2018-2021) with the aim to strengthen speculative design education. He is co-editor of the book “Beyond Speculative Design: Past – Present – Future” (2021) published within the project. His work has been presented internationally, including Triennale di Milano, BIO Ljubljana, Vienna Biennale and MIT Press.