Atlantic Wonder International Summer School
(Organização: Departamento de Arte e Design da Universidade da Madeira)
Open Event
PORTA33 — 27.07.2019

Madeira will host the second edition of the Atlantic Wonder Summer School from 23–30 July 2019. The rich biodiversity and presence of various natural ecosystems make of the island the perfect living lab to experiment with and shape a Nature Centred Design approach.

This year we will focus on tools and methods that belong to the natural sciences. We will explore and apply these in order to learn about the complex interconnections within natural mechanisms and systems.

The first step in shifting from an anthropocentric to nature centric design approach is to understand nature’s rhythms and needs. Through direct experiences and activities in nature, the participants will work with, and reflect upon, the relationship between the natural sciences and design. By bridging these two worlds we aim to foster insights that can inform the public about natural cycles, routes and rhythms and to design for sustainable and resilient systems.

Participants will interact with experts from a range of disciplines in the natural sciences and design, while developing an interdisciplinary mindset and approach towards sustainable development.


For this second edition of the Atlantic Wonder Summer School, we aim to learn how the natural sciences can provide tools and methods for observing, analysing and understanding nature. We will experiment with these tools during our walks and activities in the breathtaking Laurissilva Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with the guidance of botanists and biologists from several Madeiran research centers.We will explore ways to discuss the natural sciences with non-scientific audiences and consider how to communicate the significance of natural ecosystems, cycles, routes and rhythms in Madeira. We aim to enhance discussions within the local community about how to build more sustainable, nature centric ways of living, educating and designing.

Alastair Fuad-Luke Design facilitator, educator, writer and activist. His books include Agents of Alternatives (co-edited), Design Activism, and The Eco-design Handbook. Presently he is Full Professor of Design Research at the Faculty of Design & Art at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. Previously he was Professor of Emerging Design Practices at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland, exploring co-design, openness and sharing, and a Visiting Professor at the Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Projects in recent years include Mode Uncut, a Codesign Manual, Return on Giving for the City of Lahti, Finland; and an Eco-Innovera research project, SHIFT about how to better support eco-innovation SMEs and startups in Europe. Present research focuses on: design and resilient agri-cultures, through What Could A Farm Be? a pilot project and network, muu-baa, in South Tyrol, Italy; and an open source co-e-knitting initiative.

Vanessa De Luca

She is a design traveler and explorer. She is studying wildplants and related folk knowledge in the Mediterranean area as completion of her herbalism training and holistic medicine formation. Currently she is part of the Laboratory of visual (SUPSI) in Switzerland leading international projects and interdisciplinary initiatives. PhD in Design and Multimedia Communication, her explorations of the links between nature and interactive technologies promote a designer approach focusing on the growth of skills of cooperation among tools and people within sharing contexts of networking. Her research explores how design, services and interactive artifacts can create a positive shifts for an healthy lifestyles and a sustainable society. Vanessa has carried out many articles, research and business projects on games and interactive interfaces for behavioural change, smart services, educational tools, design for wellbeing, ICT for environmental and cultural heritage.

Gabriele Oropallo

He is Senior Lecturer in Design Critical and Contextual Studies and Course Leader of the MA by Project at The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University. He teaches Academic Practice at the University of the Arts London. He serves as Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Design History Society. His research examines the design-nature entanglement and the making of informed materials. He also co-founded critical design practices Repair Society and Arquipélagos Urbanos, whose work was featured respectively at the Istanbul Design Biennial and São Paulo Architecture Biennial. He regularly contributes to the magazine Form. His recent publications include chapters in books such as Craft Economies (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Design Culture (Bloomsbury, 2019).