To develop a dialogue with a wide group of experts and enthusiasts, FoAM organised a public symposium in the gardens of the Groenhoven estate, located on the outskirts of Brussels.

You can find more information about the talks and the discussions from the symposium in 2007 here and the photos here.


Srinivasan Soundara Rajan (Barefoot College), Jennifer Leonard (IDEO), Mike Longhurst (McCann-EMEA/EACA), Marko Peljhan (Interpolar), Carole Collet (Central Saint Martins) and Joey Berzowska (Xs Labs, Concordia University)

Programme designed by Maja Kuzmanovic (FoAM)

The Symposium 2007

The symposium featured prominent speakers from the fields of design, education, communication and technology, invited to inform and inspire the visitors with their stories, visions and outlooks. The participants had a chance to informally meet during a 'Lunchtime Bazaar'. In the afternoon, a series of talks and debates took place, in three consecutive sessions - Change, Communication and Matter. These sessions provided a rich context for animated discussions, strengthening the reciprocal connections between art, design, engineering and the living eco-systems around us.

Throughout the day, there was abundant time for meeting old and new friends and collaborators, for invigorating discussions in the lush gardens, for browsing through recent publications, experiencing the participants' greenest designs and tasting the creations of our luminous green chefs.

Lunchtime Bazaar

Several parallel activities were offered to ease participants into the day:

  • Picnic and walks in the garden
  • Screening of Angelo Vermeulen's film
    Un mal pour un bien
  • Lunch-time presentations, discussions and reports from the Expert Gathering
  • Demos of participant's luminous green designs
  • Browsing of relevant publications in a quiet library
  • Tour of Groenhoven's ecological facilities

Talks and Debates

The participants were welcomed by Maja Kuzmanovic (FoAM) and Hendrik Seghers (Groenhoven Estate), after which the afternoon proceeded in three parts, with ample time for discussions and networking.

The Change session, with Srinivasan Soundara Rajan and Jennifer Leonard focused on different initiatives supporting social change on local and global scales. Communication, with Mike Longhurst and Marko Peljhan contrasted the visions of the advertising industry with the strategies of grassroots artists and activists. Finally, in the session on Matter, Carole Collet and Joanna Berzowska dug deeper into the world of materials, forming our second, to our third and even fourth skin - from clothing, to interiors, to architecture, blending sustainability and responsivity, traditional crafts and emerging technologies, matter and media.

Speakers Biographies

Srinivasan Soundara Rajan, Barefoot College
A luminous representative of the Barefoot College, a centre for learning and unlearning in Rajasthan, India. A place "where tremendous value is placed on the dignity of labour, of sharing and for those willing to work with their hands". The college is designed for and run by the "poor in India who pass on the knowledge skills and wisdom of their forefathers, live and work barefoot". Their programmes include solar engineering, water harvesting, education, crafts and design.

Jennifer Leonard, IDEO
Jennifer is a member of IDEO's Design Community in California. She co-authored Massive Change with Bruce Mau, a book on the future of design. She is a graduate of the design think-tank the Institute without Boundaries, the University of Western Ontario and Queen's University. She studied at The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario, where she won the Top Researcher award and Norman Jewison prize for creative writing.

Mike Longhurst, McCann-EMEA / European Association of Communications Agencies
Mike is Senior Vice President at McCann-Erickson EMEA, responsible for Business Development and Corporate Affairs. He is a member of the Executive Board of the European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA) and has personal responsibilities for sustainability issues. In this role, Mike was a co-author of the Advertising Sector Report to the World Summit in 2002. He is a member of the United Nations Environment Programmes Advertising Advisory Committee, representing the European communication agencies.

Marko Peljhan, I-TASC
Marko is the coordinator of 'Project Atol', 'Makrolab', as well as 'Insular Technologies', a high-frequency global radio network initiative. From 2005 he is coordinating the design for the Arctic and Antarctic Makrolab projects in the framework of the Interpolar Transnational Art and Science Consortium I-TASC. In 2000 he received the special Medienkunst prize at the ZKM, in 2001 the Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica together with Carsten Nicolai and in 2004 the second prize of the Unesco Digital Media Art Award.

Carole Collet, Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins College
Carole is a textile designer and consultant in the area of textile print, R&D, trend forecasting, sustainable design and intelligent textiles. Her consultancy has included clients such as DMC, Boussac, Koji Tatsuno, Hoechst, Global consultants and Ian Ritchie architects. Carole's academic research 'Poetic Textiles For Smart Homes' is a design quest which aims at developing innovative textiles for the domestic market. Sustainable values underpin both the design process and the design outcomes.

Joanna Berzowska, Xs Labs, Concordia University
Joanna is Assistant Professor of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal. Her research work deals primarily with soft computation: electronic textiles, responsive clothing as wearable technology, reactive materials and squishy interfaces. She is the founder of XS Labs (Extra Soft) in Montreal. She received her Masters of Science from MIT for her work titled Computational Expressionism. She holds a BA in Pure Mathematics and a BFA in Design Arts.

Symposium 2007: Programme

  • 12:00 Shuttle from Brussels
  • 12:00 - 15:00 Lunchtime Bazaar
  • 15:00 - 20:00 Talks and Debates
  • 20:00 - 22:00 Dinner
  • 22:00 Shuttle to Brussels

Language: English


The process of unfolding goes step by step, one pattern at a time. Each step brings just one pattern to life; and the intensity of the result depends on the intensity of each one of these individual steps. --Christopher Alexander