1. The action of working with someone to produce something.

Collaboration takes many shapes at Design Academy Eindhoven. Students collaborate with one another in some projects, either by choice or according to a particular assignment, and, following graduation, several design studios have emerged from those collaborations. Some tutors at the academy are also members of collaborative practices. This kind of working together is more often based on a shared passion, than a particular need for a specific expertise. By comparison, collaborations between designers and experts, professionals or people in general from beyond the world of design, are generally based on the need to bring additional knowledge or skills into a project. These, for instance, can range from scientific knowledge about fragrances to glassblowing skills.

Collaboration is, of course, not unique to the field of design, but designing as an activity has recently become known for its ability to assist people (professionals or experts from different backgrounds) to collaborate, particularly in order to accomplish change. Designers are invited to take part in this process and, as such, designing becomes an example of how collaboration can be supported. Open Design , building on the principles of the Open Source movement in software development, does the reverse – by inviting non-designers to collaborate with designers.

Sociologist Richard Sennett’s book, Together, reads like a world history of collaboration, demonstrating its huge importance to humanity in general. He argues that cooperation between people from differing backgrounds is key to a thriving community and social life. In a globalising world where more and more people live together in cities, rebuilding our collaboration skills, in the wake of the division of work which ensued under capitalism, should be a key focus according to Sennett. Design definitely can play a significant role in this endeavour.

DAE examples

  • Conor Trawinski & Tomas Pieters, We Collaborate, Graduation project Man and leisure, 2013

  • Susana Cámara Leret, Kindred Spirits, Research Associate in Crisp (Creative Industry Scientific Programme), Project G-MOTIV, 2013


  • Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design; How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. New York: Harper Collins.

  • Sennett R. (2012). Together; The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  • Van Abel, B., Evers, L., Klaassen, R., & Troxler, P. (Eds.). (2011). Open Design Now; Why design cannot remain exclusive. Amsterdam: Bis Publishers.