16 | BDW2015
S O C I A L B E ABOUT THE MENA DRC
The MENA Design Research Center is a non-profit organization, founded in Beirut in 2010 that focuses on the role of Design in entrepreneurship, education, and social impact. The conception of the center is based on Doreen Toutikian’s master thesis developed in the Koeln International school of Design, as a result of a year long study on Design Education in the Middle East. Taking Lebanon as a case study, the research enquires about the situation of Design as a discipline in academic discourse as well an integral part of the creative industry. The goal of the MENA DRC is to develop Design within all capacities in order to align it with international standards. The principles of Design Research are the foundations on which the center’s strategic planning is based, taking into account a variety of social, cultural, and environmental challenges that are relevant to the region. The creative process involved in problem finding & solving – whether in communications, products, systems or services – could be applied to a varied scale of disciplines and fields. The MENA Design Research Center promotes this diverse understanding of design through the implementation of design research and collaborative multidisciplinary projects in the region.
Unlike market research, which is consumed with statistics and quantitative data, design research is concentrated more on qualitative information. Borrowing from social and cultural studies, and interpreting through a designer’s lens is what makes this form of data collection and retrieval unique when compared to other research fields. The MENA Design Research Center is highly involved with social initiatives that concern people and contributes to a variety of social issues by developing innovative tools through design thinking and co-creation. The center is also closely linked to design education in order to encourage and guide the participation of designers in the noncommercial, public, and non-profit domains. Apart from Beirut Design Week, MENA DRC develops collaborative projects with local, regional and international institutions; such projects include Desmeem (desmeem.org), Disrupt! Design! as well as on going research projects that involve a variety of social and cultural challenges that are prominent within the center’s environment.
An overview of more than 160 events that took place during BDW15.