Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos is a philosopher and full professor of Design at the School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of São Paulo. She got her MA at University of São Paulo, Philosophy, in Aesthetics, 1975 and her Ph.D. at the University of São Paulo, Philosophy, in Aesthetics, 1993. She was a visiting scholar in postdoctoral programs at the following universities: University of California, Los Angeles. School of Public Policy and Social Research, 1995-96; University of Campinas, Brazil, Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences, 1997; Nihon University, Tokyo, College of Design and Arts, 1999; Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal, 2001; UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, 2007 -2008. She was guest lecturer at BGC – Bard Graduate Center, 2011, at Boras University, 2013, and at LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2014.
She is the author of several books, among them Design, waste and dignity, Modern furniture in Brazil and Jorge Zalszupin – modern design in Brazil. She is a scientific consultant for Brazilian Research Agencies, such as Fapesp, Fapemig and CNPq. Dr. Loschiavo dos Santos current research is about Discarded Products, Design, Homelessness and Recyclable Material collectors.
She is deeply committed to design and social responsibility issues. She is the screenwriter of the documentary movie À margem da imagem (On the fringes of São Paulo: homeless) which concentrates on themes such as social exclusion, unemployment, alcoholism, insanity, religiousness, contemporary public spaces, urban degradation, identity and citizenship. The film was officially selected for the São Paulo Short Film Festival 2002. The film was awarded the “Best documentary” film at the Gramado Film Festival, 2003. She is also a scholar of the National Council for Scientific, and Technological Development (CNPq).
Key Note: Waste, City and Resistance: The cooperative practices of wastepickers or catadores in Brazil
This presentation explores how urban poverty in Brazil has led urban nomads, the homeless and catadores (people who scratch their living from collecting recyclable cardboard, metals and other discarded materials), to develop strategies for survival by digging through dumpsites and landfills. These people make their living returning the discarded products and materials they find to the productive cycle and to other unexpected uses.
The activities of collecting recyclable materials by the catadores constitute an important example of this practice, which re-attributes value to garbage, to the products and materials that have been disposed of post-consumption. In Brazil, there is a long-standing tradition of excavating and re-utilizing materials and products in this manner. This activity takes on importance as a public service, as a means of generating income, and a contribution toward social inclusion and overcoming poverty.
The history of this practice of collecting recyclable materials began in the city center of São Paulo. The amount of residues and waste materials that circulate in this area speaks volumes with regard to the perverse relationship between poverty and waste/residues and, at the same time, warns us about the risks we run of transforming these vulnerable people themselves into residues and waste.
Maria Cecilia Loschiavo Dos Santos was Coordinator for the edited book Design, Waste & Dignity, produced along with collabors Stuart Walker and Sylmara Lopes Francelino Gonçalves Dias. It is published by Olhares with support from CNPq – National Council for Scientific and Technological Development.