BIO 26: Designathon Open Call Announced

The Museum of Architecture and Design is launching an open call for participation in the 26th Biennial of Design, BIO 26 – Common Knowledge, curated by Austrian design curator and cultural producer Thomas Geisler together with assistant curator Aline Lara Rezende.

BIO 26 will take on one of the greatest challenges of our time: information. Concerned with the widespread crisis in information, BIO 26 seeks to harvest the best ideas that explore ways to creatively take charge and react to it, as well as to propose experiments and present alternatives to the ways we currently deal with information and knowledge.

The open call invites designers, architects, scientists, artists, communicators, educational professionals, sociologists, and the general public on a sprint journey to revisit the fundamental structures of knowledge production and transmission in society, going back to the Enlightenment.

This year we will commission six projects for the biennial through a designathon process—a three-day intensive, hands-on, sprint event in which curious and motivated people, non-designers and designers alike, will collaborate on design challenges. Selected participants will explore real challenges posed by the BIO 26 curatorial team together with a partnering museum, library, university, botanical garden, and retirement home, as well as news and media organization to rethink their roles in the twenty-first century. Six esteemed designers will lead the groups as mentors until the exhibition presentation.

After choosing a challenge, the selected participants will actively join the first of two designathons taking place in May in Ljubljana. The six best projects selected during the first designathon—ideation to prototype—will continue to the next phase and receive funds to be developed further in a second designathon—prototype to product—taking place in July in Ljubljana.

From November 14th, 2019 to February 9th, 2020 in Ljubljana, the 26th Biennial of Design, BIO 26 – Common Knowledge, will present the outcomes of the exploratory work of the winning challenges at various locations in Ljubljana, complementing the main exhibition at MAO and accompanied by a special catalogue.

Applications for BIO 26 are now closed.

Selected candidates will be contacted by May 5th 2019.

Frequently asked questions

How to Participate

The 26th Ljubljana Design Biennial, BIO 26 – Common Knowledge, is offering you a unique opportunity to attend the first designathon at MAO, the Museum of Architecture and Design. Similar to a hackathon, a designathon is an intensive hands-on event where creative and motivated people from different backgrounds get together to think critically about the future and search for productive solutions shaking up the status quo. Three days of ideation and rapid prototyping to develop modern solutions for established institutions of knowledge production and transmission in Ljubljana—such as a library, a museum, the university, news/media organizations, the botanical garden, and a retirement home—are waiting. In the heart of Ljubljana, you can create together with likeminded, passionate, and curious people and challenge each other.

Everyone is welcome to participate! We are interested in connecting interdisciplinary teams with different education backgrounds. You have three days to develop a project and present it in a ninety-second pitch. This year’s theme is the information crisis. The detailed challenges will be announced at the event.

Our goal is to generate new ideas through a creative sprint process during the first designathon—and not to stop there. The winning teams will go on to the second designathon, where these ideas will receive funding to be developed further and transformed into validated prototypes, installations, services, or systems to be exhibited during the biennial. If you are curious, motivated, skilled, and eager to be challenged to solve problems concerning knowledge and information, this is the perfect place for you to be.

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

What Is a Designathon?

The first designathon to commission projects for a design biennial. Combining the creative, entrepreneurial world of startups, tweaking it with a curatorial approach, the BIO 26 team is crafting a design marathon, in which an interdisciplinary team will be putting their minds and hearts together to solve a design challenge. In an intensive three-day working session, you and your team will have time to rethink the future of information processing, sharing, and understanding through challenges from established institutions, guardians of our knowledge production and transmission, and designing proposals with passion, creativity, and curiosity.

The six best projects win. Efforts from the first designathon will be presented at the end of day three and will be judged by BIO 26’s expert advisory committee for the chance to be one of the six commissioned projects for BIO 26.