IDW is the annual International Design Workshop week for master students of the Faculty of Design Sciences of the University of Antwerp (architecture, interior architecture, product development, heritage studies, urbanism and spatial planning), as well as for master students of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of the AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts Antwerp.


After addressing the current global crises and dark times during our previous IDW editions (STORM in 2023 and ALIENATION in 2024), IDW 2025 aims at shedding a positive and bright light on the future through WHIMSICALITY. Whimsicality is about infusing joy, wonder, and creativity, it’s about thinking outside the box and embracing the unexpected. Whimsicality in art and design can act as a coping mechanism, providing moments of lightheartedness and joy amidst difficult circumstances. So let’s use our joyful imagination, our delightful creativity, our playful thinking, and our unconventional ideas to explore future enchanting possibilities. Let’s design our future in a whimsical way. You ready?

“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”—Dr. Seuss


The IDW week aims to explore WHIMSICALITY using the power of the critical design attitude. Instead of the traditional affirmative design approach (problem-solving and solution-focused), the aim of the IDW week is to focus on ‘problem-finding’. This critical design attitude leads to a deeper understanding of all factors that influence a design and encourages to reflect on the impact of a solution or intervention. It triggers the exploration of alternative and out-of-the-box scenarios thus increase the likelihood of more (socially) sustainable and desirable futures becoming reality [1].

The workshop week is open to radical pedagogical experiences, which open the eyes, broaden thinking and foster new encounters. It stimulates international and interdisciplinary exchange and offers an informal platform for discussing design education and its agency.


We are looking for workshop tutors who are eager to actively engage with an interdisciplinary group of approx. 15 master students in a week-long critical design adventure. Students have no other courses that week. They are expected to be fully dedicated to the workshop they are involved in. Tutors are also expected to be wholeheartedly committed to the workshop (full working days from Monday to Friday).  


We offer an interdisciplinary group of approx. 15 master students to work with (product development, architecture, interior architecture, urbanism and spatial planning, heritage studies and arts). We offer a lump sum of 500 euro to cover fee, costs of transport and meals during your stay. For duo’s we can offer a lump sum of 800 euro. However, we can only afford a limited number of duo tutored workshops.

We offer the company of a group of marvellous fellow tutors, and overnight accommodation. Indeed, we highly suggest staying in Antwerp for the duration of the week, in order to keep focus and vibes. Therefore, we will take care of hotel accommodation for all tutors (unless they ask us not to do so) from Sunday 09 February until Saturday 15 February 2025.


By 15 September 2024 a workshop proposal is submitted through this link.

This submission contains:

  • The title of the proposed workshop
  • A description of the topic and the workshop, in which the proposal is clear (max. 2000 characters, including spaces), including a paragraph about the link to the theme, your pedagogical approach and incorporation of interdisciplinarity.
  • Three images, representative for the topic / your approach / your work
  • A short biography (max. 800 characters, including spaces)
  • A picture of yourself
  • Whether you are willing to give a Pecha Kucha presentation during the week


For any enquiries about submission, content organization and practicalities of the workshop, please email


Dean: Prof. dr. Inge Bertels

Curatorial board: Els De Bruyn (arts), Yonca Erkan (heritage studies), Marleen Goethals (urbanism and spatial planning), Tine Segers (architecture), Inge Somers (interior architecture), Kristof Vaes (product development)

Administrative support: Nele Simons, Evelien Van Akeren

Communication:  Nele Simons, Evelien Van Akeren


[1] Vaes, K., Torkildsby, A.B. and De Boeck, M. (2022) ‘Design with a critical lens: teaching students how to find, rather than solve, design challenges using interdisciplinary workshops’, in Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Disrupt, Innovate, Regenerate and Transform, E and PDE 2022. The Design Society. Available at: