Each session of the SDAS is unique. The content and dynamics are partially set beforehand
by the organizers and partially determined by the desires of the current participants.
We offer regular classes in concepts drawn from music composition, systems theory, critical theory, and epic theater that we have found helpful in taking a design approach to social problems.
SDAS sessions usually include design groups in which participants formulate desires in the form of false statements, under the title "My Desires: Right or Wrong". The design groups discuss, combine, and revise these statements and take them as points of departure for creative group projects.
Guest presenters offer classes, talks, and guided field trips in various subject areas connected to the current projects. Often there is a large-scale project involving the entire school. Such projects have included performance tours, house theater, street theater, forest theater, children's theater, public painting studio, hospital clowning, excursions to conferences, hosting our own conference, collaborative writing, creative demonstrations, urban permaculture.
We experiment with forms of learning and teaching: living lab; court watch; art lube; discussion with noisemakers; dancing a statement; collaborative composition projects; humanitarian clown trips; community gardens; performers' workshops; creation of radio and film documentaries; creating public service announcements; writing zines, articles, books; idea rummage sales.
Designing a Society creates an intersection of the formats of classroom, collective, performance ensemble, activist group. We emphasize solidarity among participants, so that co-creation, friction, conflict, and uncertainty can flourish peacefully in an atmosphere of fun and respect. Learning and creating together often also means living together, so that our thoughts about desirable ways of living can be immediate as well as far-reaching.