Power Games

For the fall 2020 seminar week we invited students to join us on a one week exploration of the nature and potential of Power. For this we teamed up with Andrea Reimer who developed a seminar called “Power & Practice”.

Unfortunately this seminar week was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are currently looking into alternative formats and dates. More information soon.

Dear Student,

Are you aware of your own power and how to use it? Power is something we rarely talk about explicitly. It seems that you either have if or you don’t. But is this really true? How can we better understand the different types of power and how they affect us and others? And how can we develop consciousness about our personal power and connect it to our passion and purpose? During the “Power & Practice” Seminar Week we will look for answers to these and other, related questions.

Gaining a better understanding of power dynamics and our own power capacity is a crucial step. We are therefore teaming up with Andrea Reimer, who served on Vancouver’s City Council from 2008 to 2018 and is now Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, where she teaches power literacy. As Vancouver’s first permanent Deputy Mayor, she took the lead on many transformative policy initiatives including the bold plan to make Vancouver the world’s Greenest City and transition to 100% renewable energy.

The week-long programme aims at gaining a better and deeper understanding of what power means, where power lies and how it can be influenced, obtained and applied. We will examine different structures and constellations, including the Swiss system of direct democracy and the complex political context of Albania. The workshop culminates in a role-play exercise, the “Power Game”, which teaches us about how we can effectively use our power and influence to get things done and to take into account the messy politics taking place above the designer’s head.

The “Power & Practice” Seminar Week takes place in the Design in Dialogue Lab at ONA. Due to Covid-19 we will work in a hybrid mode, combining online input and face-to-face exercises in Zurich. We will be joined by a variety of guests, including some ‘powerful’ people. After a week of reading, listening, discussing, roleplaying and reflecting, you will acquire a greater understanding of how to navigate the corridors of power you are walking as you try to realize your own ideas in the real world.

We are looking forward to exploring the potential of power with you.


Lukas Fink and Michiel van Iersel

– Letter
– Subject: Seminar Week “Power & Practice”
– 19 August 2020