SAAA Conference 2017: presentations

Dr Oliver Vodeb

Researcher, Lecturer, Centre for Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology; Memefest

Food democracy, critical lessons in communication, design and art

Dr Oliver Vodeb’s forthcoming book Food Democracy, Critical Lessons in Communication, Design and Art is centred on how in a world where privatisation and capitalism dominate the global economy, we can think and practice socially responsive communication, design and art that counters the role of the food industry as a machine of consumption.

By recognising that representation, as well as production, distribution and consumption, is a key element in the way the global food system works, his research shows that communication, design and art are crucial to determine how we think about food and food democracy.

Food Democracy is focusing on community research initiatives and design and artist practices of avant-gardening and beyond that can help us re-configure how our food is designed, how our food is sold, and who has access to food. Dr Vodeb’s research is not just about what the problems are-but what can we do about it. This book is a result of a five year long research process of the global Memefest network, which he founded in 2002 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Dr Oliver Vodeb’s research employs diverse strategies from essays and theory to design, photography and public interventions to investigate the processes and institutions that determine everyday life and exert influence over social futures. Using critical theory and practice to investigate the complex processes of production, distribution and reception around design, media and communication he seeks to establish principles for responsible social, political, economic and cultural practice. He’s work is mostly centred around issues of social and environmental change, decolonisation of knowledge and the public sphere. Dr Vodeb teaches and researches in the School of Design at Swinburne University of technology. Dr Vodeb has published three books and numerous papers in journals like Design and Culture, Design Philosophy Papers, Journal for Critique of Science and Art, Kepes, has curated twelve Memefest Festivals and was creative director of dozens public communication campaigns/ interventions including the first national anti drug prohibition campaign, a presidential campaign and the largest experimental design human rights campaign in Slovenia. He has lectured around the world, co-directed Poper studio for public communication for eight years and has given Memefest workshops in Slovenia, Colombia, Netherlands, Australia and Cuba.


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