In celebration of Earth Day 2015, Parsons Paris is hosted a day events to encourage discussions about climate action and sustainability. The day started with a Material Swap Shop and an e-waste workshop withAMT Program Director Benjamin Gaulon, and culminated with a panel discussion on the theme of “The Remaking of Making” which was open to the public.


earthday-swapshopStudents were encouraged to donate what they no longer want, and take what they need from the swap of leftover materials including paper stock, construction materials and fabrics.earthday-swapshop3earthday-swapshop4earthday-swapshop2

E-WASTE WORKSHOP with Art, Media & Technology Director Benjamin Gaulon

The dark side of technological progress is the production of endless amounts of electronic waste: e-waste. Although the economic value of obsolete electronics approaches zero, the electronic components themselves can still be useful in other contexts. Our workshop enables participants to become familiar with basic hardware and software design while at the same time gaining hands-on experience making an interactive art project. No programming or electronic skills are required. The idea is to start from scratch and create a complete project over a short time, including concept, design, electronics / interfacing, and functional programming with Arduino, Max/Msp, Pure Data or Processing.




PANEL DISCUSSION: The Remaking of Making

A growing number of identifiable movements are attempting to build alternative models of production- including makerspaces, fablabs, hackerspaces, reprap communities, commons-based peer-production, open hardware, and living labs, among others. Frequently, these new makers and related advocacy groups characterize their work as promoting environmental and social sustainability, a reclamation of power and meaning through making, and ultimately/potentially, the re-organization of global, local, and distributed economic systems. In making connection with broader economic movements, like the solidarity economy movement, ideals such as openness might not be necessarily automatic. This panel will address how prototyping, critical making, as well as activities and concepts of sustainability in these movements find traction and contribute to broader societal debates, aspirations and transformations, beyond makers per se.


Roundtable participants:

Adrian Smith [center] is Professor of Technology & Society at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University in Brighton, UK, where he undertakes research into grassroots innovation and social change. He is a convener for the STEPS centre, an interdisciplinary research program in social and environmental sustainability.

Justyna Swat [left] is an architect and strategic designer, focused on the development of open-source hardware and digital fabrication as a part of  ‘new economies’ and its potential impact on environment and urban design. She is a Wikihouse Foundation and POC21 executive, OuiShare Connector and design assistant at ENSCI les Ateliers school of industrial design.

Kakee Scott [right] teaches design research, sustainability and consumption studies at Parsons the New School for Design, and is acting program director of Strategic Design and Management for the Paris campus. Her recent research explores design and new economics.

The roundtable highlighted the current efforts of the POC21 accelerator project, to be held outside Paris in August and September, 2015.


Information was on display in the gallery space to learn more about La Réserve des Arts, a new partnership launching soon, which will serve as a valuable resource for students to use materials in a more sustainable way.


Meanwhile at The New School campus in New York, they hosted Earth Day events of their own, which you can watch below.

Learn more about our undergraduate and graduate programs at Parsons Paris.

E-waste workshop and panel images by PuxanBC