Design School Kolding project nominated

 for the European Zero Award

The project Designing Relations is the only Danish project to be nominated for the prestigious European Zero Award. The award is directed at projects that focus on removing barriers for physically and mentally challenged citizens across the world.

The project – which is run by Vejle Municipality, the care centre Skansebakken and Design School Kolding – has worked to create relationships for mentally and physically disabled citizens whose primary relationships are with people who are paid to care for them.

The Board of Social Services has evaluated the project on an ongoing basis and established that indeed the Skansebakken residents have gained more relationships with friends, acquaintances and the civil society. Their quality of life has improved, and the staff has more time for those citizens in need of extra support.

Two designers from Design School Kolding, Laila Grøn Truelsen and Joan Pedersen – who are also trained in pedagogy – have worked on the project with Prorector and Head of Development Mette Mikkelsen. Together they have developed ideas that make it easier for citizens to present themselves. One of the results is that the citizens have been equipped with tablets to help them communicate with the world around them.

The designers have also looked at how to activate the civil society in order to establish new relationships and how the relationships that the citizens already have can be used differently. This has resulted in new relationships with local volunteers – choir singers, dog walkers, etc. who participate in different activities at Skansebakken, visitors from ULF (the National Association of the Physically and Mentally Challenged) and Rødkilde High School, and former employees.

In 2013, Designing Relations won the KL Innovation Award awarded by Local Government Denmark.

About the Zero Project
"The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010. It is run in partnership with the World Future Council since 2011 and with the European Foundation Centre since 2013. The mission of the Zero Project is to work for A World Without Barriers, according to the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It does so by researching Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies worldwide that helps to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, as well as researching Social Indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world."

The theme for the nomination is: Independent Living and Political Participation

The Innovative Policies and Practices selected by internationally renowned experts in a multistep process will be:
- featured in the Zero Project Report 2015, on its website www.zeroproject.org and social media platforms; and
- their representatives will be invited to speak at the Zero Project Conference 2015 in Vienna (Austria).