Design for Peace & Reconciliation Project


Colombia, a country on the North-Western corner of South America, has been facing certain critical challenges—after a 50-year civil war, many Colombians are left suffering the effects of living in a post-conflict zone and the consequences of the displacement of over 3 million persons, and the death of 220,000, with 4 out of the 5 deaths non-combatant civilians. Through the Design and Community Innovation Workshop (TaDIC), stakeholders are hoping to use design methods to imagine a better future for themselves, their communities, and their country.

In 2019, my colleagues and I had the immense privilege of joining the TaDIC team in Tumaco, Colombia, for three weeks of innovation and collaboration between local elders; community, business, and education leaders; students from across Colombia; volunteer participants; and UNAL organizers. Together, we worked to achieve shared outcomes—peace and well being for Colombia—through the design and execution of design prototypes. The physical, mental, and emotional proximity served as a metaphor for the larger process of reconciliation, with shared artifacts acting as tangible reminders that cooperation can result in mutual benefit.

Connecting Colombians & Canadians Events

Although 6400 km apart, Colombia and Canada share many concerns. We want our children to be healthy and loved. We want clean water and good food. We want to feel part of a community that is peaceful and safe. This month, Jill Mah (the project’s RA) and I are hosting a three-day exhibition, workshop series, and discussion panel at Mount Royal University—Design Thinking for Social Good—to explore issues common to communities in both countries, and showcase the inspiring work created by our Colombian partners.

Workshop 1: Make a bottle cutter, see examples of prototypes, and learn about how design was used for peace and reconciliation in Tumaco, Colombia.

Workshop 2: Use design thinking towards solving one of these local problems: waste reuse, industry diversification, or food security.

Workshop 3: Imagine your ideal future by thinking about the past.

The last workshop is followed by a short RECEPTION at 1pm outside of the immersion studio.

Please note that you can register for as many workshops as you’d like since each one will act independently of the others.