Code of Ethics

The world is witnessing a refugee crisis of global proportions as war, persecution, and increasing poverty sequester growing refugee populations into isolated areas of camps, contention centers, forced labor zones, and slums. Today, more than 65 million people worldwide have been forcefully displaced. The response to the refugee crisis is carried out by a network of stakeholders of various capacities, intentions, and motivations. The line between solidarity and compassion towards profit and exploitation is easily crossed in this impure realm, and anyone intervening in the refugee crisis is bound to make compromises. Where do we draw the line? How can we, at and from MIT, address this crisis in light of the pressing political and ethical concerns? What can be a meaningful contribution of art, design, culture, and technology in this context? 

Code of Ethics points to the opportunities, needs, and dilemmas related to design interventions in the refugee context. Exhibited are two ongoing projects of the MIT Future Heritage Lab taking place in the Al Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, which is planned to become the region’s largest camp, housing 150,000 people. Design Inventions from Al Azraq, a photographic survey, reveals the discrepancy between humanitarian design and the “real needs” of refugees. The Code of Ethics platform works towards a formulation of ethical guidelines for practitioners in fields related to humanitarian design.

The satellite hub of the Future Heritage Lab in Al Azraq aims to support refugees’ educational initiatives, contribute to the preservation of memory, foster social cohesion between migrants and the host community, and to establish new models for more efficient, ethical, and culturally sensitive forms of humanitarian relief.