starting
Vision on society:
starting I see myself as a “Cultural Immunizator”

On the right you can see different colors representing different mind-sets. The blue part is the understanding for each other, I create with my designs.

In this society I see a lot of cultural conflicts. Many people are raised to see other people as different. This causes dispute and sometimes even war. People see things they don’t know as different, and what is different is dangerous. Also languages and heritage causes fear in this way, while these people should embrace their differences. Their difference makes them special and beautiful.

Some persons voice their fear for others in the form of hate and anger. I see these persons as the “leaders”. These people convince others of this anger and hate. I call the people that are being convinced the “followers”. The best way to stop this is to change the mentality of the followers by creating self-empowerment for them. By making the followers start to think for themselves, the leaders will lose strength and the followers can take responsibility of their own thoughts and believes.

Due to the globalization people from many different background start living really close together, they easily move to the same place. Due to the globalization this problem is much more relevant. At the same time the cultural immunization becomes much easier. At this moment the communication flow between culture groups living closely together is instant and anonymous which in my eyes is very dangerous. With cultural groups I mean macro and micro cultures. My observations do also apply to for instance groups of colleagues that can’t understand their colleagues from other departments.


Vision on Design:
The challenge is to change behavior of the followers from an ignorance following attitude towards making them think for themselves and have a critical attitude towards others opinions.

To do this I will create cross-cultural communities. These communities should be put together apart from their obvious context. This way you meet people from different cultures in another setting and you might even become friends with them. This way the difference is not there anymore. Everyone is equal. The difference becomes the beauty.

This video clip (Sorry is only in Dutch) was an important inspiration and recognition for me to actually shape my written vision.


Identity as Designer:
As designer I search for fitting design solutions on location. By building cross-cultural communities I create opportunities for the followers to communicate.

I search for cultural clashes all around me. On the news, in neighborhoods, every place involving many people. There I have different ways to address this challenge. First I put myself in the culture by the help of a cultural exchange to get to know the ins and outs of that culture (for example my internship). Secondly I find a way to communicate the value of the other cultural group unrelated to the culture itself (see my B2.1 project), for instance by the help of a current social topic. Third, I make social suggestions with the help of a product and a service (see my current project).


As person I’m a visionary and I like to dream of the perfect world. A world in which everyone is nice to each other and all cultures are respecting each other.

I’m also an optimistic person I tend to see everything from the positive side. Next to that I see myself as a social and empathic person that loves contact with other people and is very interested in their backgrounds. I’m also a great listener, maybe because of my curiosity for what makes people behave like they do. With my open-minded attitude I don’t judge very easily. I’m just very interested in different visions and views on the world. With my problem solving character I like to dive into other cultures to find and solve their problems. I’m very motivated to help people and solving their problems.

I see myself as a very independent person. I don’t like others to tell me what to do, or how I should behave. I expect others to be open-minded as well. I can be very annoyed by people that can’t make their own decisions or who expect me to follow them without questioning. In cooperation with companies I can be very mission focused, and professional.

I need structure in my life. It makes things clear for me and I get rest when something is structured in my head. I create my own structures, like the way my computer is organized. When something is structured I work the best of my ability.

Within design I love to talk to others about design and gain inspiration from their visions, or inspire them with mine. With my independent characteristic it is hard for me to let others help me with my work. I attack this by gathering people around me with different skills than I have to delegate some of my tasks.

Charlotte van der Sommen
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