Product Design

Pooling People

Elise van Beurden
Practice Social Practices
Project Open Design
Major Product Design
Year 2015

Since a decade, Polish labour migrants have been starting to settle down in my hometown Steenbergen (Noord-Brabant) to work in e.g. the horticulture sector. Many migrants visit Steenbergen for a few months whereupon they return to Poland. However, there is a growing number of migrants who decide to stay to build up a future here. Steenbergen's inhabitants seem to know only the Polish route of home-work and home-supermarket, and seem to have a little knowledge about their culture. In a small rural city where a culturally diverse mentality has not much developed, a certain amount of background information is needed to live together.

I was inspired by the needs, future visions, differences and similarities of the communities

By doing a great amount of field research with as well the Polish and Dutch inhabitants as various stakeholders, I have got inspired by the needs, future visions, differences and similarities of the communities. During the dozens of interviews, surveys and workshops, I developed and tested Open Design tools that provoke acquaintance and for the longer term, social contact.

How It Works

The ‘tool table’ is an Open Design acquaintance tool that collects stories and visions of citizens and provides assignments and questions for both cultural groups. Due to its 100-year old mahogany wood out of the Gummarus church in Steenbergen, this table gets a traditional and catholic expression. In addition, its modifiable content provides an adventure through the city's people.

Read Elise's research om WdKA's Beyond Social online source.

Curious about Elise's other projects? Visit her website.