How can big and open data be a tool for social innovation? Where lies its potential, what are the limits and pitfalls?
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What is Age of Wonderland?
Learn what we stand for and who we are

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Let us tell you how much we enjoyed the Age 
of Wonderland 2015 event
Read the retrospective

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Meet this year's fellows:

2016

About

About the 2016 event

About the 2015 event

About the 2014 event

Partners

"Hear, hear..."

Global exchange to foster social innovation?

Can we have a moment please? Our world is at a turning point. In a nutshell: our financial system is not viable towards the future and creates great social inequality. The question is not if technology will dominate our world, but in what way. The Age of Wonderland programme finds that, in order to face these challenges head-on, these issues require other kinds of collaborations, including knowledge exchange between non-western and western countries as well as collaborations between professions, and skills. In two residencies the programme invites makers, thinkers and doers (who we call fellows) from Latin America, Africa and Asia. The fellows work on challenges where scarcity and ingenuity go hand in hand. The Age of Wonderland programme revolves around the understanding that we need a more robust collaboration between creative makers and thinkers from all over the world. When it comes to the great challenges of our time, we need to act on a global scale – to secure a liveable, inclusive society and planet.

About Age of Wonderland

The Age of Wonderland programme invites these innovators, in order to join forces with our local community of scientists, engineers, designers and artists to develop socially innovative ideas that will boost sustainable social change on a global scale. To foster this collaboration, Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and Dutch Design Week, yearly invite six fellows – as we call them – to the Netherlands for an intensive visitor programme and residency. The status of their projects and experiences is presented at the globally renowned Dutch Design Week.

Is it an era? Is it a community? Is it a slogan? Age of Wonderland is of course not literally an age. It is a programme, a platform and a change agent for research where interdisciplinary ideas are developed. It facilitates tailor-made collaborations between (young) creative innovators. Joining knowledge, resources and networks Age of Wonderland believes that it will be able to have a lasting effect on innovation.

And how does it work? you may ask. In order to facilitate co-development and co-design, the selected Age of Wonderland fellows tap into the Eindhoven-based community of designers, scientists, engineers and students and the programme’s wider network in the Netherlands to develop future scenarios that have the potential to boost social change and influence policymakers worldwide.

Each party involved is challenged to take their ideas to the next level through this collaboration. The processes, projects and products that spring from this programme are shared with a wide audience during the Dutch Design Week in and around Eindhoven. The aim is to foster collaboration, realise the fellows’ ideas in their home countries and inspire (creative) professionals to include a non-Western viewpoint in their work.

What’s in it for you? Age of Wonderland challenges those it touches to open up to wider perspectives and question how they themselves can contribute to a sustainable future. You can follow our fellows, get in touch with them and visit them during their residencies, in public lectures and workshops.

Brief history

The three-year programme for knowledge exchange where innovative ideas are fostered is built upon the successful 2014-pilot edition. The programme is jointly developed and implemented by Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and the Dutch Design Week. These organisations joined forces to respond on the wicked problems and the outdated systems in society by addressing the creative global community to take this challenging head-on.

2015 Retrospect – Balancing Green and Fair Food
2014 Retrospect – The Friendly Invasion of a New World Order

Key ingredients of the programme are residencies, presentations, local follow-ups, knowledge production and product development.

Another goal is to link start-up investors to the programme and further develop the projects to be shared with and implemented in the local communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America upon return. Simultaneously the exchange is fostering social innovation within the Dutch and European creative industries, as new insights towards alternative approaches and problem solving strategies are developed through the collaboration with international communities. This cross-pollination between ideas and people functions as an accelerator to reflect on the status quo of our globalised and networked societies.

With an interdisciplinary approach to design research, this project addresses our worldwide ecological, social, and economic challenges. Though global issues are at the core of the programme, it does not propose a one-size-fits-all approach to social or technological innovation. The programme enables a critical attitude and proposes to appropriate innovative models of collaborating and thinking.

In 2017 Age of Wonderland will present itself at the World Design Expo in Eindhoven.

Big Data, Big DADA?

Age of Wonderland 2016

That is the question. How can big and open data be a tool for social innovation? Can it tackle the intricate global and local challenges our planet is facing? Where lies its potential, what are the limits and what are the pitfalls? Six designers, researchers and scientists are committed to investigate, develop and share projects during their Age of Wonderland residency and public programme on the theme.

About Age of Wonderland 2016

The promise of big and open data has rebooted a tradition of positivist enlightened thinking, presuming that the analyses and applications of large amounts of information will lead to a ‘better’ world. Easy data collection systems have enabled the quantification of our every move, activity and thought, and as such, has produced an endless repository of information. Data and technology are to become revolutionary powers, as they shed light onto matter, which would otherwise not be visible.

There are truly positive promises of the attribution of big and open data: we can predict illnesses to potentially avoid epidemics, and are close to find a solution for Jakarta’s traffic problem. If citizens are able to collect and access any data to improve their own data collection, will their lives improve? Negative voices on the topic suggest that the technologic advance will create even larger gaps between rich and poor, and perpetuate increased mechanisms of exclusion. Mobile and networked technologies track human activity as to track and analyse these data sets to provide insight into what ‘we’ want, do and what ‘we’ might need in the future; without us knowing what is stored from us and without having any access to our personal data collection.

This raises ethical questions on the mining of information, its ownership, and the responsibility that goes with safeguarding our privacy. If data is ‘the new oil’ we urgently need to explore and create new ways to discuss such topics. And should citizens not be in charge of their own data and the collection and storage of it and should they not be the only one who can make money off selling it?

Through a global dialogue, Age of Wonderland 2016 aims to explore the promise of big data with the experiences and practices of the research fellows from Iran, Indonesia, Tanzania, Chile and Guatemala. Ideally our discussions guide us into making well-informed decisions on these hot topics. The Age of Wonderland fellows and their co-researchers will co-create scenarios and tools, with the general public through a public programme during two residencies, one in May and one in October during the Dutch Design Week 2016.

Balancing Green and Fair Food

Age of Wonderland 2015

“Food is the primary medium through which we express our humanity. Food production, its distribution and preparation, and its symbolic strength in times of crisis as well as abundance, is the main influence on how we experience and give shape to our culture. We paint and sculpt our world with food.” — Arne Hendriks, artist & curator Age of Wonderland ‘15

Age of Wonderland ‘Balancing Green and Fair Food’ co-organised by Hivos and Baltan Laboratories, addresses the complex issues ingrained in our globalised food system by inviting six experts from across the world to exchange knowledge.

Age of Wonderland challenges creative thinkers, doers, inventors, artists and designers, to reflect on the processes of food production, consumption, and distribution. Six creatives selected from Africa, Asia and Latin America take on the issues at hand, and share their perspectives on our global food systems. They further their research in Eindhoven with the local community as well as professionals to explore relationships between food and environmental, technological, economic and social concerns.

The playful interactions between the different topics stimulates an exchange of ideas, reflecting on food as a story of hope, a connection with others and a way to positively shape the issues in our society. The research processes are shared openly and dynamically, inviting peers, professionals and other curious minds to tap into the pool of ideas as staged during Age of Wonderland. Through the main exhibition as well as presentations, discussions, workshops and pop up (food) labs, Age of Wonderland becomes a change agent for transcultural thinking and doing. Each day will feature a dedicated topic, connected to the undercurrents of this edition of Age of Wonderland.

Age of Wonderland’s main hub is Baltan Laboratories at Natlab. The theme Balancing Green and Fair Food is developed in collaboration with the Food Non Food department of Design Academy Eindhoven. This project is financially supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Art of Impact and BKKC Impulsgelden.

The friendly invasion of a new world order

Age of Wonderland 2014

"Population growth may lead to scarcity of water, food, space and other means needed to live a high quality life. For many people in Africa, Latin America and Asia this is a daily reality. I think it's absolutely vital that designers who grow up in these circumstances, the experience experts, are involved in dealing with these challenges." — Arne Hendriks, Ambassador DDW 2014

Our world is at a turning point: the current financial system is no longer sustainable and has the downside of producing great social inequality. Furthermore, the question is not if technology is going to dominate our world, but how. These issues require other kinds of collaborations, including knowledge exchange between non-western and western countries.

In Latin America, Africa and Asia, a new generation of creative talents who have known for years how to deal with circumstances in which scarcity and ingenuity go hand in hand is emerging.

For Age of Wonderland, these young talents will join forces with Eindhoven’s community of scientists, engineers, designers and artists to develop socially innovative ideas that will boost sustainable social change.

Meet our partners

Hivos

Hivos is an international organisation that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, we oppose discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Our primary focus is achieving structural change. This is why we cooperate with innovative businesses, citizens and their organisations. We share a dream with them of sustainable economies and inclusive societies. hivos.nl

Baltan Laboratories

Baltan Laboratories is a collaborative platform for future thinking that places art and design research at the core of its activities. Baltan Laboratories is both a network and a methodology: It sees the lab as a way of working and as a place where ideas are put into practice through projects in which freedom of thought, openness towards the unknown, experiment and playfulness are key. Baltan Laboratories stimulates a cross-disciplinary approach conducted in an open-minded atmosphere based on trust, empathy and mutual inspiration. baltanlaboratories.org

Dutch Design Week / Foundation

Dutch Design Week – organised by the Dutch Design Foundation – is an annual event about international design, also staging processes of innovative design and co-design practices, hosted in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The events are organised and hosted by the designers themselves. It takes place every October and is an event with exhibitions, workshops and seminars at many venues, attracting more than 250,000 international visitors. Together we work towards the World Design Expo in September 2017. ddw.nl

Design Academy Eindhoven

Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) specialises in design. It offers a four-year 
Bachelor’s course and a two-year Master’s course. It has an impressive, international team of tutors at its disposal, its graduating students are known to belong to the world’s top designers. The very DNA of the Design Academy could be described as conceptual, authentic, creative, flexible, free, passionate and curious. At DAE, design is in the service of man and society, and social developments are the most important mainsprings for innovative design. designacademy.nl

The Art Of Impact


The Art of Impact is a temporary incentive and research programme, focusing on new and existing arts and artists' projects with clear impact on a social issue or problem. The Art of Impact provides financial and intangible support to existing and new projects, sometimes in collaboration with a social partner, pursuing sustainable impact within and outside the cultural domain. Furthermore, The Art of Impact does research on the method of creators and producers, the success and risk factors of cooperation and the qualitative outcomes of the projects supported. Finally, The Art of Impact contributes to the visibility of the projects selected through an interactive website, the organization of meetings with creators and community producers and different presentation moments of supported projects. theartofimpact.nl

For inquiries and more information please contact:
info@ageofwonderland.nl

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Retrospect 2015

Retrospect 2014

Looking back on a successful Age of Wonderland 2015!

Second edition on Green & Fair Food during DDW 2015

Age of Wonderland’s 2015 topic ‘Balancing Green and Fair Food’ challenged creative thinkers, doers, inventors, artists and designers, to reflect on the processes of food production, consumption, and distribution. The audience was also introduced to the topic in the context of the Dutch Design Week. The projects developed during the residency programme ranged from the nomadic tastes of Kyrgyzstan, to the ancient traditions of a remote self-sustainable village in Indonesia, passing by a waste facility that turn waste into organic compost in Tanzania.

Six fellows selected from Africa, Asia and Latin America did their research in Eindhoven with the local community as well as professionals. Together they explored relationships between food and environmental, technological, economic and social concerns. The interactions between the different topics stimulated an exchange of ideas, reflecting on food as a story of hope, a connection with others and a way to positively shape the issues in our society. The research processes were shared openly and dynamically during the Dutch Design Week in October, inviting peers, professionals and other curious minds to tap into the pool of ideas as staged in the main exhibition as well as presentations, discussions, workshops and pop up (food) labs. Each day featured a dedicated topic, connected to the undercurrents of this edition of Age of Wonderland.

Age of Wonderland’s ambition to connect ideas and people from all over the world with the local community in the Netherlands was successfully achieved through the many workshops, pop up labs and the guided tours. The exchange of ideas developed new insights and possibilities on how to develop a more sustainable approach to the (food) systems we have become part of. During the Dutch Design Week Yoyo Yogasmana from Indonesia received the first Ecocoin handed over by Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature). The knowledge from often forgotten, remote cultures proves once again to be of great value and importance for the development of new perspectives on our future. According to Yoyo we should be in tune again with nature to become more resilient. 'Only then there will be enough resources for everyone.' Katera's start up in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania was successfully embraced by the audience as well as international companies like DSM and BAM. His idea to solve the waste problem in his hometown using low tech solutions in collaboration with the local community and the authorities brought him to create his own Start up 'Guavay'. 
This 2015 edition of Age of Wonderland was made possible by our fellows and their Dutch counterparts, the team, students from the Design Academy Eindhoven, DSM, Rijnconsult, BAM and last but not least our dedicated volunteers. Age of Wonderland is financially supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Art of Impact and BKKC Impulsgelden.

To see some impressions of this edition view our online photo archive, the aftervideo, and the livestream of the Future Food Seminar.

Looking back on a successful Age of Wonderland 2014!

First edition boosting sustainable social change

With the slogan ‘The friendly invasion of a new world order’, the Age of Wonderland programme was launched in 2014. Finding our world at a turning point, we stated that the current financial system was (and is) no longer sustainable and has the downside of producing great social inequality. Furthermore, the question was not if technology is going to dominate our world, but how. These issues require other kinds of collaborations, including knowledge exchange between non-western and western countries.

In Latin America, Africa and Asia, a new generation of creative talents who have known for years how to deal with circumstances in which scarcity and ingenuity go hand in hand, is emerging. For the first edition of Age of Wonderland, these young talents joined forces with Eindhoven’s community of scientists, engineers, designers and artists to develop socially innovative ideas that eventually will boost sustainable social change. Age of Wonderland involved six international artists and over 20 organizations from The Netherlands and Flanders. During six weeks, they have been collaborating on subjects related to social innovation such as hacking, foreign policy, public transport, cultural genetics and music. All aimed towards reflection on how our Western and their society can learn from each other and posing the question: are we on the verge of a brutal or friendly invasion of a new world order?