Letter to Pines Calyx Guests

template of a letter sent by the m21 team to invited experts on 17th February, 2008

m21 research project

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/m21 (external link)

Pines Calyx Workshop – February 29th + 1st March, 2008

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=MetadesignToolkitWorkshop (external link)
This event is part of a 3-year, government funded (AHRC) research project – ‘Synergy within Metadesign’ – that aims to find better ways for designers to work together on behalf of society and the ecosystem. The purpose of this 2-day workshop is to help us test and evaluate some of our current approaches, and tools. You are one of a small number of experts specially chosen for this task and we very much look forward to working with you. We think the event will be fun, and we hope you enjoy your time with us.

What is Metadesign?

We have defined Metadesign as a comprehensive and inclusive design process that also designs itself. One benefit of this approach is that it transcends the limitations of existing design specialism by working at a higher, systemic level. This means thinking more deeply about lifestyle than would be possible in a commercial context. Metadesign includes the politics, ecology, economics, as well as the social, and emotional levels, etc. We realize that this is a highly complex and ambitious task.

The context for Metadesign

Our research aims to go beyond current notions of 'sustainability' by aiming to achieve the more positive idea of a 'synergy-of-synergies'. Where planners and legislators often work with a sticks-and-carrots approach, designers can work more positively by creating new options and possibilities. John Chris Jones has used the term ‘creative democracy’. Perhaps metadesigners of the future will help society to create new forms of governance.

What will we do in this workshop?

In this workshop we will explore selected tools and methods that are intended to integrate different specialist design knowledge at various levels (e.g. speculative, intuitive, discursive, practical, etc.). The main focus will be at the economic level, although not as a traditional economist. You might, for example, like to re-think the idea of currency in a playful, or radical way. There will be six special advisors on hand, each of whom are able to offer relevant specialist knowledge. Nine of our research team will also be on call, to facilitate, and to document what happens.


You have been assigned to one of two metadesign teams, drawn from 5 design disciplines, As a participant, we ask you to come with a willingness to engage with others, and reflect upon your own design practice. In return, we can offer you a safe space in which to be yourself. We hope that unexpected and exciting findings will emerge as a result of this co-creative experiment. Your contribution is therefore just as important to the success of this event as our programme and preparations.


As a research event, we need to keep a record of activities, for our data-evaluation. We will therefore document the event using sound recording, photographic and video equipment. Please advise us if this is unacceptable to you. We may subsequently wish to publish some of this material without profit, in order to disseminate our work to others. If so, we would only do so, subject to your approval.


It is not our primary intention to create ideas or material that any of us might see as ‘Intellectual Property’. However, in looking for new, effective solutions for urgent social, political and ecological problems that affect everyone we may find that some ideas have commercial potential. We would nevertheless like to treat the workshop as an ‘Open Design’ venture, in the spirit of the Creative Commons. With your approval, we would therefore ask that the workshop outcomes belong, initially, to the group as a whole, as convened by the m21 research group. After the event we may ask for your consent to publish selected, appropriate documentation or findings, under a Creative Commons, or Open Source agreement.

In a few days we will contact you to find one or two answers to some basic questions in order to prepare for the workshop. With your permission, we would also like to contact you for a brief follow-up interview, a week or two after the workshop.

Practical Details

Pines Calyx
Friday 29th Feb/Sat 1st March.

We have organized a coach to take us from Goldsmiths to Pines Calyx and back again to London. Accommodation has been booked in two hotels in the area and dinner is booked on Friday night in a local pub/restaurant. Cabs and people carriers will take people to their hotel after dinner and collect them from their hotels and take them to Pines Calyx on the Saturday morning.

Programme: Friday 29th February

8.00am - Departure from Goldsmiths Main Entrance (http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/find-us/)
10.15am - Arrival at Pines Calyx (http://www.pinescalyxproject.co.uk/)


10.00 - 11.00 - Arrival and coffee
11.00 - 6.00 - Workshop
1.00 - 2.00 – Lunch
The workshop will be followed by dinner at The Coastguard Restaurant, which is within walking distance from Pines Calyx. (Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements).

Where you will stay
Wallett's Court Country House Hotel http://www.wallettscourthotel.com (external link)

Programme: Saturday 1st March

Breakfast in your hotel and then a cab or a people carrier will take you to Pines Calyx for a 10am start.


  • 10.00 – 4.00 - Workshop
  • 12.00 – 1.00 – Lunch
  • 5.00 – Coach Departure from Pines Calyx
  • 7.00-7.30 Arrival at Goldsmiths College
  1. 1) Please confirm Friday 22nd February whether you will travel with us on the coach.
  2. 2) Please also include your mobile phone number and/or suitable landline number.

We look forward to meeting you on Friday 29th Feb.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate us:

The m21 Research Team

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/AuPeople (external link)

Mrs. Ann Schlachter
M21 Pines Calyx project
Department of Design
Goldsmiths University of London,
13, Laurie Grove,
New Cross
London, SE14 6NW
T: +44 (02) 07 919 7788
F: +44 (02) 07 919 7783