Designing the Future, the project that brings together design and art therapy to offer a second chance to people at risk of social exclusion
27 Jul 2021 /

Designing the Future, the project that brings together design and art therapy to offer a second chance to people at risk of social exclusion

The project, launched by Idecart and supported by World Design Capital Valencia 2022, uses design and art therapy to improve access to the labour market for people at risk of exclusion. Now at the halfway stage, the balance is very positive and it is hoped that the project will become a long-term undertaking with the holding of new editions of the programme and since its users need to be able to incorporate the design knowledge they have acquired to create stable employment projects.


Four designers and five art therapists work together to provide workshops to groups of people at risk of social exclusion to enable them, through a creative process and with the design tools provided by the designer, to create objects for the home with an intrinsic value, and not only for the person who has manufactured and designed them.

During the first stage of the project, the designers and art therapists met and underwent training to be able to offer the workshops to people at risk of social exclusion. After training together, they formed teams to take responsibility for each group of users, in this case from the organisation Koopera, dedicated to textile recycling, and Novaterra, as part of its programme Dona Emprén.

The workshops with the users began a few months ago and the results, according to all the parties involved, from art therapists and designers to the project managers and coordinators, are proving to be very positive.

By bringing the two disciplines together, the project enables the users of the workshops not only to connect with their creativity in a liberating manner thanks to the psychological and artistic techniques of the therapists, but moreover, with the accompaniment of the designer, they learn about the procedures and tools inherent to this discipline to channel their creativity into an end product, a palpable and consumable object that is, in turn, a good solution to a problem, in short, an object of value in itself.

At present, the project is at the stage of proposing ideas regarding the type of objects that can be made, although it has already been decided that they will be in the realm of home decor. “Some really interesting ideas are being put forward.”

The good results have increased the motivation of the organisers to hold new workshops beginning in September for people with mental health problems and also in cooperation with juvenile facilities.

The aim is for the project to transcend far beyond the duration of the workshops and for the users to be able to incorporate all this knowledge and experience in their daily lives and even to convert it into a viable employment opportunity.