Submitted by Milena Šešić, University of Arts Belgrade
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Dugnad (unpaid, voluntary, orchestrated community work) is part of a design thinking family of methods, and was created by Kaos Pilots from Denmark in order to give space for creative thinking and collaboration of each member of a team. This method gives opportunity to include neighbourhood inhabitants in elaboration processes of site-specific installations and services. The method has several phases of thinking about a space: exploration, conceptualisation, creation of a prototype or service, presentation in a plenary, recap of group analysis and evaluation.

In which context was the method developed?

This method is changed in every use by different persons and groups as it is easily adapted to different spaces/cultures/contexts and to teams that might be international, intergenerational, interracial, etc. comprising all sorts of differences but wanting to take advantages exactly in them.

Settings and participants the method is best suited for

This method might be used by participants of different educational level as everyone might offer their expertise to be functional and instrumental for the site-specific installation or service solution in an urban context.


There are no specific limitations if you do not want to use it as a competitive “game” among different teams in the training programme. But from our perspective to stimulate subaltern knowledge to be shared, time limits should not be severe. It might be realised within two to six hours or even a whole day if we really want to achieve participation of subaltern group and individuals, exploration and team reflection and debate. Time limits usually serve to identify the most capable, efficient and intelligent group with effective leadership that produced product or service that can be easily accepted (fitting the usual standards and norms). Thus, in the work with subaltern communities, competitivity among groups and any kind of constraints should be avoided.

Experiences with the method

I have applied this method in many different environments, during capacity building and training programmes. Each time I would adapt it according to the seminar aims and values, but also according to the needs of the training group. Changes comprised time and number of teams as well as different ways of presenting the results of the process. Sometimes process was more research oriented, sometimes more oriented toward negotiating the concept of possible future project, and sometimes was very concrete, demanding project to be done at least as a model.

Additional references

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20180521-how-dugnad-shaped-a-nations-work-ethic https://nationalism-studies.sps.ed.ac.uk/2020/11/18/let-them-do-dugnad-the-fallacies-of-the-nor wegian-governments-nationalist-rhetoric-during-covid-19/
Marte Lange Vik: Dugnad as a democratic landscape practice: