The Desert it Opposes is an exploration of silence as a collective practice of care: it proposes a series of protocols of silence, exercises and tools to facilitate horizontal group conversations and to promote mutual listening.

These protocols for listening-with are an attempt to promote relational and collaborative approaches in place of competitive ones, not as an all-encompassing solution to end disagreement, but as a practice of being open to different voices.

Most of the exercises gathered here focus on online communication through video call, as the project was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since IRL events became possible again, The Desert it Opposes spilled over into the physical space.


The Desert it Opposes is an ongoing research project initiated by Eleonora Toniolo within the Social Design department at Design Academy Eindhoven. Since March 2021 it has been supported by the School of Commons.

If you want to know more about her research on silence, you can read her thesis WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL [ listening as care ] by downloading it here.


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If you try out these exercises and want to share your experience, or have suggestions, write to info@thedesertitopposes.xyz