The radical reframing experiment RRII

From Beyond Social

Author: Paul Gofferjé

Introduction to the ‘Radical Reframing Identity and Integration’ programme (RRII)

What is the Program Radical Reframing Identity and Integration?

A research program on how to understand and reframe radicalization

Together with the Designing Out Crime research centre (Sydney), the University of Technology Sydney and the Hague University, No Academy implemented the research program Radical Reframing Identity and Integration (RRII). The program focused on radicalization among young people. This problem has many forms and barely receives appropriate answers. Why do young people do what they do, why do they derail and what counter-strategies could we come up with? How can we better understand the underlying emotions such as anger, frustration and a sense of exclusion? Feelings of frustration and exclusion are the result of social processes. Researching these processes was at the heart of our program. The goal was not so much solving radicalization among young people, but to create a whole new perspective on the problematic situation itself. The program aimed to link creativity and imagination of designers and artists to the craftsmanship of city professionals (eg. police officers and youth workers) and to develop a more imaginative, connecting and empathic way of "positive communication" on this subject. 

The RRII program was conducted in three cities at the same time: Arnhem, The Hague and Sydney, Australia. In each city, a team of young designers/artists worked under the guidance of experienced 'social' designers: designers/artists who are used to deal with social problems.

Our social design method

Unlike many social designers who focus on participation or on making products for a specific, location-based context (community art), the designers/ artists in our RRII program concentrated on research into human and social themes: the values, emotions, processes, interactions and communications that underlie the problem (de-framing). Following this study, they set-up strategies and interventions that lead to new interaction or rearrangement of existing systems (re-framing) and these were carried out by the teams in the so called field labs. The designers and artists manifested themselves not in a finished "product" or a cosmetic solution, but in unexpected questionnaires, conversations, platforms, relationships and knowledge sharing.

These interventions are conceived in cooperation with and within the repertoire of city professionals. Within new frames, experiments take place with specific interventions, that can give a new impetus to thinking and doing. During the program such interventions were mainly assessed by the extent to which they are able to foster dialogue between parties or between different value systems. The projects include analysis, reflection, observation, translation, imagination and interventions that are not obvious within old frames of looking at and dealing with radicalization.

Illustration by Kees Dorst

Our method is based on the 9-step plan by Kees Dorst (University of Technology Sydney), which forms the core of his "Frame Creation" model:


analyzing the history of the problem owner & of the initial problem formulation



analyzing the problem situation: what makes this hard?



analyzing the inner circle of stakeholders



exploring the broader field



investigating the themes that emerge in the broader field



identifying patterns between the themes to create frames



exploring the possible outcomes and value propositions for the various stakeholders



investigating the change in stakeholder's strategies and practices required for implementation



drawing lessons from the new approach & identifying new opportunities within the network

The curriculum of the RRII program consisted of five phases:

  • Phase 1 Frame Creation crash course: Introduction of all participants of the program such as design experts (senior researchers) No Academy students (junior researchers), participating academics and city professionals (stakeholders from the field). 

  • Phase 2 De-framing: Archeology, research of themes, setting up field labs and development of relevant relations.

  • Phase 3 Re-framing: From themes to frames, searching for new directions in solutions and interventions.

  • Phase 4 Designing: From frames to new interventions.

  • Phase 5 Last round: Which intervention proposals are being implemented, what is needed for future use by the city professionals?

In the past 10 months the teams have built relationships with city professionals, undertaken activities with the sole purpose of gaining trust and future prospects of being able to use the proposed interventions. The teams learned from the insights and experiences of the city professionals to be able to feel the underlying themes related to radicalization. Interesting new themes and new frames have been identified by the teams and experts involved in the research and are being implemented at this very moment. When we have proof that the city professionals can work with these interventions, we will publish the whole program in one document from start to finish (expected publication Beyond Social beginning of 2017).

RRII team

Dick Rijken

is the director of STEIM and professor at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He also works as an independent consultant in the field of digital culture and new media and is a policy advisor for the Dutch government and for the EU. His primary interest is the changing role of culture in western society. He looks at information systems as cultural products and investigates how traditional cultural players such as broadcasters and museums can redefine their role in our emerging network society.

Kees Dorst

is a professor of Design Innovation at the University of Technology, Sydney and the Eindhoven University of Technology. He is the Executive Director of the Design Innovation research centre and also leads the Designing Out Crime research centre in Sydney. He has published numerous articles and books – most recently: 'Frame Innovation'(2015) and 'Designing for the Common Good' (2016) for MIT Press.

Paul Gofferjé

is an artist, photographer, professor at the University of the Arts Utrecht, and co founder and coordinator of the No Academy Laboratory for Art & Society, a post academic program for social design. His aim is to develop new programs for young artists and designers, who want to have real impact in society.

Eefje Cobussen

has worked in several youth care organisations as a developmental psychologist. Now she's focused on research in the Social Design Lab, part of The Hague University of Applied Science, where she also teaches at the Faculty of Social Work and Education. She has a deep interest in human development: youth care, teaching, drama and research are fields in which she explores how people interact and how they give meaning to their lifeworld.

Martine Zoeteman

is an architect, writer and founder of STADvogels, an architecture studiofor research and design. The role of architecture and urbanism in daily life is central in her work,with a specific interest in the interrelation between the design, the use and the experience ofpublic space. Both in her research and design projects she explores the possibilities of physicalspace as medium for social interaction.  

Team research The Hague

Madelaine Berliz (designer) Lotte Biesheuvel (designer) and Anna Berliz (filmmaker). 

Team research Arnhem

Luuk Wiehink product designer, Maartje de Goede (designer), Sanne Lubbers (designer) and Geartsje vd Zee (scenographer).

The Radical Reframing program was implemented by No Academy (Amsterdam) in collaboration with Designing Out Crime Centre (University of Sydney) and Haagse Hogeschool (The Hague). The project is published in collaboration with Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam) and Studio Iris Schutten (The Hague). 

The program Radical Reframing is supported by Stichting BankGiro Loterij Fonds, the municipalities of The Hague and Arnhem and the Ministry of Safety and Justice.

Paul Gofferjé, Coordinator RRII program 2016

No Academy website