Sustainable design

Sustainability and the environment have been huge buzzwords in recent years. We encounter them in the statements of businesses and politicians, as well as on the green labels of products and services. However, can we be certain that buying shampoo in a recycled bottle guarantees a step towards a greener future? Are biomaterials always a greener alternative? And what exactly is the infamous carbon footprint?

These are the types of questions we will explore in this course, which focuses on the environmental impacts of products and structures around us. The main goal is to learn how to look at objects in the context of their whole life cycles, to understand what they are made of and why, and to explore what happens to them when they complete their intended use. We will step into the shoes of engineers and designers, trying to understand the factors and limitations that influence their decision-making, including the choice of materials and processes, as well as broader economic and societal influences. Inspired by philosophies of circular and purposeful design, we will try to come up with sustainable alternatives to everyday objects. We will also look at the consumer aspects of sustainability, learning to identify „greenwashing“ practices and gain a better understanding of terms such as „bio-sourced,“ „biodegradable,“ or „recyclable.“

Whether you want to make more responsible shopping choices, have an interest in design, engineering, and materials, are passionate about addressing climate change, or simply wish to enhance your understanding of the world around us, this course offers something for everyone. No prior experience is required; the main prerequisite is the passion to delve deeper into complex questions and seek answers and solutions. The course will illustrate (un)sustainable design principles through case studies and examples, providing you with the tools to recognise and apply them in your everyday life.

Mariana Ochodková

When Mariana was a child, she was certain about two things: the idea of studying abroad did not appeal to her at all, and she perceived technical fields as inherently boring and dull. Fast forward eight years of high school in Ostrava and three years of Discover as a student, and her worldview has shifted drastically: she is currently finishing her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. She spent her third year of university on an Erasmus in Virton, Belgium, studying Industrial Engineering in French and fully enjoying the culture and exquisite local cuisine. Sustainability, both on a personal and industrial level, has been her main focus in recent years. During her internship at Rybka, a Scottish building services consultancy, she analysed the life cycles of buildings and their technologies, looking for ways to decrease their carbon footprint early in the design stage. She also participated in the international Earth Prize competition as a student mentor, helping teams bring their sustainable projects to life. Mariana likes to spend her free time in a chill mode and her current favorite activities include playing board games, drawing, listening to podcasts, dancing, and having deep talks about life with a warm cup of tea.

Session D

Art Against the Mainstream

Štěpán Folget

Biological Psychiatry

Aleksa Petković

Categories of Political Science

Gosha Evlanov

Contagion: infectious disease and society

Jana Lohrova

Cross-cultural studies 101

Mwika Kiarie

Defending Human Rights

Mirek Crha

History from Liberty to Liberation

Emma Nabi-Bourgois


Soňa Feciskaninová

Neuronal Biophysics

Sara Banovska

Positive psychology

Laura Opletalová

Sound, music, and science

Sol Johansen

Surveillance capitalism

Vašek Šmatera

Sustainable design

Mariana Ochodková

Theory of General Relativity

Bohdan Glisevic