“Gamifying Sustainability: Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Solutions” was the title of the symposium that took place at the Institute of Design and Communication, at the FH JOANNEUM in Graz, Austria, on the 8th of May 2019. Hosted by Dr. Maja Pivec from FH JOANNEUM, the event was co-organized by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Introductory lectures started with a talk from visiting professor Dr. Jane Lu Hsu of the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, who spoke about non-verbal communication in Asia. Then, Dr. Dan Podjed from the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, presented a talk about the need for people-friendly and environmentally responsible design solutions. The talk given by Darragh Coakley from the Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland, on the gamified approach to Promoting Green Skills Through Games project completed the introductory lectures.

After these lectures, master students (Year 2018) from the Communication, Interaction, Media and Sound Design program of the FH JOANNEUM as well as guests from the FF-UL Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana presented their preparatory research on waste collection and separation in different countries and environments.

The afternoon had the students facing another challenge of a co-creation workshop to “Increase Green Skills in a playful way, to motivate sustainable behavior(s) in everyday life.” Five intercultural and interdisciplinary mixed student teams – from Slovenia and Austria, students of anthropology, media and interaction design – worked on their holistic solutions to the problem and presented them afterwards.

The event was an exemplary collaboration between three universities, a research centre and several research projects. It showed that the important topic of sustainability and changing behavior towards sustainability can be tackled by talking and working together, and bringing different creative perspectives into the process.

Projects supporting the symposium and student co-creation workshop:
Promoting Green Skills Through Games
Green Games in Tourism and Hospitality
Invisible Life of Waste
People Project
Cultural and Gender Differences in Environmental Education; MOST – Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan

Text: Maja Pivec, Anika Kronberger; Photography: Stefanie Egger, Maja Pivec