Designed Silesia. How the New Silesians aim to build identity of the region through design
Śląsk zaprojektowany. Jak Nowi Ślązacy budują współczesną tożsamość regionalną poprzez dizajn
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This essay is an attempt to examine the phenomenon of semantic design inspired by Silesia's culture and heritage, which, in recent years, have been an important factor in shaping local identity. The essay's primary topic is the city as a culture-forming centre that provides the environment for hatching new ideas. The city is also a fertile ground for a group of activists who take on the challenging task of shedding Silesia's image as an excessively industrialized region with a degraded natural environment. The group, known as the New Silesians, consists of leaders aiming to change the region through design, who also serve as advocates for dialogue between residents of different cultures and identities. Made up of people who have consciously decided to live and work in Silesia, this community includes, among others, activists, artists, architects, ethnographers, art historians, culture experts, musicians and designers. However, it is commitment, rather than formal training, that plays a crucial role in their philosophy. They share a responsibility for the place where they live and this self-imposed obligation is expressed in action. The New Silesians draw their inspiration from the mining culture, post-industrial landscape, architecture, language, culinary traditions and folklore. Their projects help local residents to learn and appreciate their own heritage and, at the same time, tell the story of Silesia in a way that is attractive to outsiders. Design thus becomes an important tool for improving the region's image and fostering social change.
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