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Press

A Better World by Design 2010

Julia Steiny: Students want to do real things

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“The crowd buzzed with practical, entrepreneurial ideas. Invited speakers were found still talking together on the darkened stage where their presentation had long ago finished. Professionals from the Netherlands, Australia, India and the UK exchanged business cards and e-mails with each other and with the kids. Students from colleges as far away as Michigan found mentors to work with, summer internships and jobs, and new purpose.”

ABWxD

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“This is the third year of A Better World by Design and the momentum has certainly picked up. Sold out seats, better swag, live streaming of the conference and more high caliber speakers from around the world. Brown and RISD students from many disciplines orchestrate the conference to start conversations beyond the walls of the classroom about the messy problems that concern them today. Topics covered include the usual suspects of climate change, health, food and social issues but are tackled from all perspectives – science, art, engineering, architecture, technology, industrial design, social science, graphic design, etc. If anything, the interdisciplinary nature of the conference makes it abundantly clear that ‘design’ is a process which breaks the standard mode of operation to solve problems with a human centered final solution, no matter what field you are working in.”

RISD and Brown go global for ‘A Better World by Design’

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“‘We have a problem,’ Ed Mazria, founder and executive director of Architecture 2030, told a nearly-full Salomon 101 during the keynote panel for the ‘A Better World by Design’ conference Saturday. Luckily, he was speaking to exactly those who want to fix it.”

Greetings from Rhode Island

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“Carmen and I went to Providence, RI this weekend for the Better World by Design conference, put on entirely by Brown and RISD students. We were excited and inspired by what other students and professionals are working on in the topics of urban renewal, sustainability and social entrepreneurship.”

ABWBD isn’t just Better, it’s Best

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“A friend wrote to me [John Maeda, President of RISD] just now with the comments: ‘In the last few weeks, I attended both a fancy, expensive conference and the RISD/Brown-led Better World conference. The expensive conference had all the fancy trappings of venue, corporate sponsorship, white-linen lunch, but weak talks, even worst attempts at conversation. No energy and nothing to learn. Better World has grown dramatically, had engaging conversations, student-led energy, and much, much better talks. Questions and conversations were challenging and interesting. I will be back next year for the third time.’”

Urban Arts and Activism | A Better World by Design

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“Three days of inspiration – local, national and worldwide. A Better World by Design – all involved speakers, panelists, attendees and students looking to change the world for the better. Small and large – expertise and information that makes sense.”

Students Host an International Competition to Solve the Food Desert Crisis

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“For the past three years, a group of around 25 students from Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have joined forces to organize A Better World by Design Conference, a now internationally recognized, three-day conference drawing over 500 students, individuals and professionals from around the world together to foster a community of socially conscious, passionate innovators with the power to create positive change. This year the conference hosts the Better World Challenge, a competition prompting participants to solve the problem of food deserts in Providence, R.I., in a way that can be replicated in communities around the world.”

Treehugger: RISD and Brown Students Collaborate on Sustainable Design Conference

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“Every year presenters share engaging stories, workshops are conducted, and discussions allow attendees to learn, meet and challenge convention. Having attend for the last few years, I can always say that this multiple-day conference is an immersive experience, exploring and defining the power of design, technology, and enterprise.”

Previous Conferences

Core 77: Reflections from A Better World by Design Conference

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“The grassroots student effort that founded and continues to run this conference is incredibly inspiring, and everyone was looking forward to attending the Better World by Design Conference again next fall, with the hope of engaging in critical discussions that will challenge and advance the field of design for the greater good.”

Providence Journal: Uplifted by A Better World by Design

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“They (the organizing students) created an opportunity for 17 designers to showcase their work, and 72 local panelists to share their ideas with an international community of 550 attendees. It would be difficult to overestimate the number of collaborative ventures that will ultimately result from these exchanges.”

Dwell: How to Throw a Design Conference (Interview with Willem V.L. & Andrea J.)

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“Brown and RISD have lots of things they do separately, but in terms of collaboration, this is probably the biggest event. Ten years ago, there is no way that we would have worked together. A Better World by Design is the start of a new era of interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Core 77: Live 1 Hour Design Challenge at ‘A Better World by Design’

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“We took the Core77 1 Hour Design Challenge on the road to ‘A Better World by Design,’ last weekend, a 3 day student-run conference at Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. Focusing on climate change, slum living, and over-dependence on fossil fuels, the underlying message of the conference was how individuals can (and have) effect change by empowering communities to collaborate and act now.”

Providence Business News: Collaborative Design Can Engage, Encourage Change

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“To designers today, the concept of becoming an integral partner in the business world is just another problem that the community must face. Sustainability, integrating deeper scientific approaches, gaining respect in the broader community, or integrating business thinking into their process – all of these issues are seen as equal. The design community also needs to understand that in order to move forward in any of these directions they need to be equipped and educated to collaborate beyond interactions between designers. (Such collaboration was a focus of Brown and RISD’s recent student-led A Better World by Design conference.)”

@Issue Journal: Do Brown and RISD Reflect the Changing Focus of Design

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“RISD/Brown’s conference reflect a larger global trend, both on the academic level and in all design professions. Not too long ago the design discussion was all about branding, brand differentiation, using design to elevate a brand above the "noise" in the marketplace… These are still important considerations, but what is entering the dialog now is the role that design can, and must play in solving some of the world’s most urgan problems. Design is not exempt from responsibility… It is reassuring that the next generation of designers is looking beyond design as an aesthetic discipline to seeing it as a vehicle for social change.”

HOT Studio: If you want to get it done, do it now

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“I came away feeling that those students were mentoring me rather than the other way around. I am inspired by their ability to “Be the change.” The bar has been raised; we need to lead by example and find a way to help others in need—one person CAN really make a difference in this world. I highly recommend this conference to anyone who needs a “shot in the arm” to identify their passion, get motivated, and use that passion to contribute in creating positive change in this inter-connected world.