Dr. Oliver Vodeb
Dr Oliver Vodeb’s research employs diverse strategies from writing and theory to design, photography and public interventions to investigate the processes and institutions that determine everyday life and exert influence over social futures. Using critical theory and practice to investigate the complex processes of production, distribution and reception around design, media and communication he seeks to establish principles for responsible social, political, economic and cultural practice. His work is mostly centred around issues of social and environmental change, decolonisation of knowledge and the public sphere. Dr Vodeb sees design as a contextual, intersubjective social practice.
Oliver is a conceptual and creative director of Memefest, and principal editor and curator of Memefest festival of Socially responsive Communication Design and Art. Memefest is an international collective dedicated to spreading alternative theory and praxis. The Memefest network brings together critical designers, communication/ media experts and activists, academics, artists, educators and researchers in extradisciplinary situations to investigate, design and create socially responsive design, many times in the form of public campaigns and interventions.
Oliver works on what he calls "urgent and burning issues in times of radical uncertainty and environmental degradation" many times looking at design in original and new ways. For the past five years Memefest has been strongly working on issues of Debt as an instrument for social control, Aboriginal decolonisation, food democracy, and relations between design/ intimacy, dialogue and design and pleasure developing groundbreaking collaborations between the university, (aboriginal) activist groups, the larger international Memefest network and local communities. Vodeb's work is profoundly human-centred employing action research and participatory design.
Dr Vodeb has published four books with the University of Ljubljana and Intellect Books UK and numerous papers in journals like Design and Culture, Design Philosophy Papers, Journal for Critique of Science and Art, Kepes, has curated twelve Memefest's and was creative director of dozens public communication campaigns/ interventions including the first national anti-drug prohibition campaign, a presidential campaign and the largest experimental design human rights campaign in Slovenia. He has lectured around the world, co-directed Poper studio for public communication for eight years and has given Memefest workshops in Slovenia, Colombia, Netherlands, Australia, USA and Cuba;
His most recent book Food Democracy, Critical Lessons in Food, Communication, Design and Art is published by Intellect Books UK in late 2017. He is currently working on Lipstick and Bread, investigating what he calls pleasure praxis and is planning two new book projects: one on (un)disciplining documentary photography and one on an extradisciplinary investigation of dialogue and intimacy in relation to design, communication and art.
Oliver holds a PhD in Sociology of Design, Media and Communication from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia where he has studied under Mirjana Ule, Rastko Močnik and Aleš Debeljak. He was close friends with Slovenian poster design legend late prof. Zdravko Papič with whom he has collaborated for many years.