Book Salon

Reading can entertain and enlighten, motivate and connect, but it ultimately still is an introversive and solitary act. Unlike sitting around a table and listening to someone sharing a passage from a book or article: Here, one can feel the excitement and eagerness among the listeners to discuss the text which was read out together, to exchange thoughts, emotions, reading tips, and material.
In our practices, we often become aware that in discussions which evolve between diverse people with different tempers and educational backgrounds the debaters talk at cross purposes. The reason for this is not the lack of a basic common understanding of the topic, rather so, the misapprehension is mainly caused by a group of diverse people applying different methods of argumentation and ways of framing the same topic. When people with different professional and cultural backgrounds try to communicate, their backgrounds act as lenses through which they see and interpret the world and share their perceptions. A statement can mean one thing to one person and something different to someone else, even if the language used is the same. In the discussions during the Forums the different skill levels in English were evident, as well as the different roles in the group, which were taken on surprisingly quickly (and, in most of the cases, did not correlate with the respective English skills).

Cadavre Exquis

Cadavre Exquis is a method invented by the surrealists in which a collection of words or images is assembled collectively. Each collaborator adds to a composition in a sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.

System Constellations

The method of System Constellations is applied to work with systems such as family, organisation or other structures. It is a procedure in which people represent personas or entities within systems as a way to visualise the dynamics and patterns of their structures in order to understand and develop them. It was developed and specified by a number of people, among them Bert Hellinger (Family). It is a holistic instrument which does not only include pragmatic analyses but also a broader knowledge and other forms of perception (body senses, intuition, …).

The World Café

The World Café is an interaction method for the whole group which focuses on conversations, collaborative dialogue, and the sharing of knowledge. The method also offers a base for participants in a workshop, symposium, or similar encounters in which they can introduce each other, and – for instance, by talking about the gathering’s topic – to also become acquainted with the individual ideas and perceptions present within the group.


Within the Forums we apply a range of games and physical excercises to counterbalance the ‘brain work.’ In order to not solely involve the mental and verbal capabilitites of the participants, we involve them into modes of non-verbal, intuitive cooperation and coordination requiring and stimulating physical awareness and sensitivity. Games, inserted in the middle of discussions or in between two program points, figured as an energizing moment of recreation, processing and refocusing.


The Slow Motion Race

By Pablo Calderón Salazar

The exercise was spontaneously suggested and  conducted by Pablo Calderón Salazar, a participant of the Forum 4.

Augusto Boal was a Brazilian dramaturgist and writer who was deeply involved in processes of popular education in Brazil, and was influenced by the work of Paulo Freire. On this line, he performed The Legislative Theatre as a means for people to exercise some agency in the social and political processes in which they take part.

Making and Thinking by Drawing

With the task of manually translating and condensing the topics discussed during the Forums into something physical – such as the Quartets during Forum 5 – Tools – we enable another level for reflecting and processing the insights acquired during the encounters. By sketching, suggesting, rejecting, choosing and implementing we succeeded to encircle and pin down the vaste amount of knowledge gathered during the encounter into an intermediate aggregation or summary rather than into something that claims to be a definite result.


At our regulars’ table food is the common base and reports and information can be passed on, but also an entertaining place which easens tying and cultivating social contacts and having a good laugh together. The gathering of people and the discussion about topics, which are relevant to us, is transfered into a tavern where a heterogenous public from a neighbourhood meets. By doing so, we reconnect to a sphere, from which many design institutions have gotten more and more distached, but which we consider as key for the understanding of our discipline: The every day life.
We do not want to conduct our initiatives such as the Forum within an institutional, professional, personal and disciplinary ‘bubble’ detached from its relative location with its specific socio-cultural conditions.

Leisure Time

During the Forums the moments before, after and between are of equal importance as the actual subjects of the program. Cooking together, going for a walk, visiting an exhibition or attending a party offers the participants the possibility to connect in ways, which during professional gatherings are often taken for granted but still not are acknowledge as integral (and productive) parts of the encounters. But in fact the ties created during these undertakings ‘off-the-radar’, prove to be stronger and deeper than those made within imposed institutional structures, or those induced by the affiliation to the same discipline or by a project’s requirements. This is because the connections are based on the metrics of foundations such as empathy, solidarity, mutual understanding and friendship and bringing back the sense of joy as a benefit that should be inherent in the pursuit of our practices.

Forum Open Night

During each of the Forums we prepared and hosted – together with the Forum’s participants – a Forum Open Night at Depot Basel. By considering the Forum’s participants not only as our guests but as our co-organisers and co-hosts, we facilitate a mode and depth of involvement different to the one usually created during similar encounters. Often enough the participants of prevalent multi-day-formats are reduced to their roles as expectant recipients – and ultimately consumers.

Pub(lic) Quiz

With its format Pub(lic) Quiz Depot Basel wants to unite people of different age, interest and professional expertise in a relaxed atmosphere, in order to have a playful conversation about design in general, about its influence on culture and society, on participation and activism. Theme-based and open for everyone, the Pub(lic) Quiz includes questions and tasks , activities for mind and body. It is a parlour game about facts, images, riddles, talents, necessary and unnecessary knowledge. The format motivates social interaction. It offers possibilities to playfully and directly approach themes of design, society and culture to all participants. Quizzers form teams, collecting points throughout the game. The highest scoring team wins.