|Design(ers) against Precarity: Proposals for Everyday Actions
How to create the social and material conditions that make critical, transformative design practice possible? This question continues to drive us in our work, especially because we are convinced that if we want design skills to be used for the creation of a world into which many worlds fit, then lots of people interested in doing such transformative work need to be enabled to do it repeatedly and in the long-run.
|Community Economies, a practice exchange: 7-8-9 June 2019, Vallagarina Italy
During a three-day gathering in the Italian Alps in 2019, we wanted to explore how practices of community economies are being activated by people coming from an art and design background in a variety of local contexts. This practice exchange was an occasion to bring together practitioners and theorists to work together on concrete case studies of artist and designers activating community economies in diverse places across Europe. Another objective was to support several local projects in developing or strengthening their community economies approach. A core question of the gathering was how community economies practitioners deal with issues of scale, as often these practitioners find their work’s validity challenged along lines of argumentation that claim that only what is scalable and effectively scales has potential for transformation.
Through this Snapshot Journal I give an insight into the topics we discussed, the methods we used to support our collective thinking and the thinking that has been produced.
|Footprint: A Radical Workers Co-Operative and Its Ecology of Mutual Support
This note explores examples of co-operative ways of organizing work and life that are rooted in a desire for radical eco-social change. We look at and unravel the politics of work and the ecology of support of Footprint, a worker-owned printing co-operative, which is located in Leeds (UK). The first part places special attention on the values and value-practices that inform the co-op’s daily activities, while the second part explores how the sustainability of Footprint’s radical working methods are interlinked with their participation in a (trans)local ecology of social and environmental activism.
|Speculating with Care: Learning from an Experimental Educational Program in the West Bank
In 2012, I was involved in the experimental study program, Campus in Camps, which is located in the West Bank and which brought together 15 third-generation refugees to study the contemporary condition of Palestinian refugee camps and to speculate about their potential futures. In this article, I draw on my experience at Campus in Camps in order to reflect on how design and speculation can be activated by designers and non-designers to speculate with care about the matters of their own lives. To explore the potential held by the design speculations produced at Campus in Camps, I draw on the work of feminist philosopher Marìa Puig de la Bellacasa around " matters of care ". To think about the aspects of care and speculation activated throughout the different phases of the educational program, I mobilise Alfred North Whitehead's metaphor that compares speculation to the flight of an airplane.
|Commons & community economies: entry points to design for eco-social justice?
Many designers today (including ourselves) are experimenting with how their practice can engage in meaningful ways with the complexity of pressing social and environmental issues. Being very much concerned with the politics and power relations that run through such issues, in this paper we will explore what points of orientation the framework of the ‘commons’ and that of ‘community economies’ – seen from an autonomist and feminist Marxist perspective – can offer when working on socially and politically engaged projects.
|Designing Economic Cultures: cultivating socially and politically engaged design practices against procedures of precarisation
This practice-based research sets out to investigate and intervene in the tense relation between the production of socially as well as politically relevant design work and the socio-economic precariousness many designers experience. Starting from an engagement with the precarious working conditions of designers, their genealogy over the last 30+ years and the role precarisation plays in forming docile creative subjects, the research moves on to a wider critique of the political economy and of its precarising value practices. Based on this analysis, it then considers the strategic use that can be made of concepts around the commons in order to undo procedures of precarisation.
|Designing Economic Cultures: Cultivating Socially and Politically Engaged Design Practices Against Procedures of Precarisation
This practice-based doctorate sets out to investigate and intervene in the tense relation between the production of socially as well as politically relevant design work and the socio-economic precariousness many designers experience. Starting from an engagement with the precarious working conditions of designers, their genealogy over the last 30+ years and the role precarisation plays in forming docile creative subjects, the research moves on to a wider critique of the political economy and of its precarising value practices. Based on this analysis, it then considers the strategic use that can be made of concepts around the commons in order to undo procedures of precarisation.