Building Culture through Participatory Design

What design practices facilitate the creation of culture?

  • How do we build culture in a durable, intentional way?
  • How do we learn and teach from design process itself?
  • How have we learned to improvise or hack design practices so that we personalize design thinking with our own experience?
  • How might we build on each other’s practices to make something new happen?

For the Toronto Design Offsite we created an experience for culture building through sharing and learning design processes. We will have an open space exchange of learning and generative framing through design participation. If you are a designer or participatory culture artist, we invite you to attend and share in this workshop a method or practice for small group envisioning, scenario or model making, or group sketching type practice.


Culture building is the re-creation of artistic and social evolutionary practices that enable continuous learning across generations. The workshop invited people to share their own design processes in small groups to co-create cultural artifacts, such as a learning experience, an interior, a song, a plan, or a website or publication. The goal was the participatory process itself, and learning from one another ways of revealing collective wisdom and aliveness in co-creation.

Design with Dialogue (DwD) is a Toronto-based open community of practice. This special workshop was a collaboration between Gelareh Saadatpajouh and Markus Doerr with Peter Jones from DwD, with Miranda Corcoran and Leah Snyder , photographers and Patricia Kambitsch, live sketching.

Cultural identification started with the introductions, which were simply adding a nametag to the Toronto map o’ culture waiting participants at the entrance:

Small groups met in spaces all around Lambert Lounge to co-create dialogues and pictures of practice: