Saturday, March 16, 2013

HOPES [19]: Collaborative Futures

The 19th Annual HOPES Conference, organized by students and hosted by the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, will take place this April 4-6. HOPES [19]: “Collaborative Futures” looks to re-articulate and direct the contemporary discourse of what it means to foster a sustainable city, region, and planet. The organizers have brought together professionals, academics, researchers, professors, and students in fields ranging from biomimicry to sociology for a truly collaborative conference this year. 

Dissonance. Synthesis. Initiation.
In past years the HOPES conferences focused around singular issues from a specific perspective of design. This year however there is a new approach: bringing together individuals from multiple disciplines to confront the pertinent issues of our time as a collective. This approach parallels the School’s history of challenging conventional ideas of conservation and sustainability. 

“Problems cannot be solved from within the same paradigm in which they were created” writes Annie Leonard in The Story of Stuff. Many disciplines have become aware and are active in the pursuit of sustainability through the unique perspectives of their specific fields. However, discipline-specific efforts are fundamentally limited in responding to inherently interconnected and therefore interdisciplinary issues. To pursue innovative solutions we must challenge conventional reductionism, existing hierarchies, and complacent approaches. By fostering a collaborative dialectic and enabling access to a vast compilation of knowledge, philosophy, and appropriate application, what might be possible? 

This expanded context must be made accessible for the expansion of otherwise narrow understandings. Can one unified understanding of sustainability exist or instead an amalgamation of interdependent approaches to it? How might these differing approaches to sustainability find common understanding and realization? HOPES [19] intends to challenge contemporary accounts of what it means to be sustainable. The conference organizers invite dissonance, seek synthesis, and offer initiation into collaborative thinking, so that we may measure past efforts and define areas of newly shared approaches. 

For more information about HOPES [19], check out the conference’s website: 

What: HOPES [19]: Collaborative Futures

When: Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6

Where: Lawrence Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene

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