Aesthetics of Adaptation

March 7, 2019

We are very pleased to be joining the symposium Aesthetics of Adaptation organised by Paola De Martin of ETH Zürich to discuss how to undo classism within design.

The symposium The Aesthetic of Adaptation questions the euphoric neoliberal narrative about the rise of a creative class. We will start from Paola De Martin’s observations in her ongoing PHD (ETH Zürich, gta Institute) in which she analyzes the transformation of social upward movers’ lifestyles – climbing up from Zurich’s working class milieus into the field of design. These agents’ trajectories speak volumes about a relatively strong pressure to adapt their habitus dispositions to the tacit rules of legitimate tastes. These rules include the devaluation, exploitation, appropriation, sublimation and exotization of their former working class spaces, practices and judgements. We will discuss about the socio-historical forces that are at play within these dynamics of inequality. What can be said about class in culture when we compare Zürich’s design sceene with other cities and countries of the globalized world? What can be said in this respect when we compare the design field with the fields of art and architecture? And if we want to resist classism in design practice, can we posssibly learn from gender and postcolonial theories and histories?

Participants/Guests (alphabetic order):
Prof. Dr. Christina Cogdell (Design Historian, UC Davis the Arts, CA/USA), Dr. Bianca Elzenbaumer (Lecturer Design Theory, University of the Arts Leeds, UK, initiator of the online-platforms Precarity Pilot and Brave New Alps, I), Prof. em Dr. Ueli Mäder (Sociologist, University of Basel, CH), MA Jackie McManus (Co-author of the NALN-research project Art for a Few, UK, Lecturer Cultural Studies, University of West London, UK), Prof. em Dr. Franz Schultheis (Sociologist, Hochschule St. Gallen, CH), MA Sophie Vögele (Co-leader of the ZHdK research project Art.School.Differences, CH, PHD-student York University, CAN).

13 March 2019
Cabaret Voltaire
Spiegelgasse 1, 8001 Zürich

Gatherings of Resilience: Creative communities as catalyst for climate justice

May 8, 2018


Trajna, an Association for the Development of Sustainable design, is organising the first in a series of three events, dedicated to empowering creative workers who are working on addressing our current economic, social and environmental issues.

The event will start by a short talk about planetary boundaries in the context of our prevailing economic system, performed by Izidor Ostan Ožbolt, a member of the Working Committee on the Environment, student group Iskra. In the second part of the workshop participants will be invited to share their struggles and opportunities with working on transdisciplinary projects and communicating issues connected to climate justice to the wider audience. We will exchange inspiring literature and works and collectively find inventive ways to overcome this transitional barriers.

Ljubljana, 24.5. at 12.00 PM
Language: Slovenian

Please confirm your attendance by writing to us: info [@] trajna [dot] com

The project has received support from the Creative Climate Leadership programme, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Events will be facilitated by cultural association Pina.

Lorem ipsum – Talking about Graphic Design

April 8, 2018


Precarity Pilot is part of the exhibtion Lorem ipsum – Talking about Graphic Design
at the Design Museum in Helsinki (FIN) that celebrates the 85th anniversary of the Finnish graphic desing association.

23 March to 27 May 2018

Thanks to the two curators Kiia Beilinson and Arja Karhumaa for inviting us into this space.

Design education and (prefigurative) work politics

March 10, 2018

We’ve added a new section to the platform where we reflect on how people involved in design education (students, tutors, administrators) can contribute to tackle precarious working conditions.

@ Beyond Change – Swiss Design Network Conference

November 16, 2017

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 07.55.18

Together with Decolonising Design and Depatriarchise Design, we will be activating a discussion platform during the Swiss Design Network Conference Beyond Change on 8-10 March 2018. Thanks to Claudia Mareis, Nina Paim and Julia Sommerfeld for inviting us into this space.

Papanek Symposium

July 12, 2017


Pleased to be contributing to this year’s Papanek Symposium on ‘Design and Ethics’ hosted at the Austrian Embassy in London.

The symposium is directed by Alison J. Clarke and co-organised by Leah Armstrong.

The Climate Change of Work

May 16, 2017


Together with Paolo Plotegher, we will be running a 3-day workshop at the Trojan Horse Summerschool on the Finnish island Bengtsår. Looking forward to this!

By Design or By Disaster

March 3, 2017


In a few days we’ll be contributing with a talk and a workshop to the upcoming By Design or By Disaster conference, at the Faculty of Design and Art of the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen. Very glad to see that our interest for the economies of eco-social design resonates.

Here are the slides of our presentation:

Exploring Territories – talk & workshop

August 25, 2016

We’re delighted to contribute to Exploring Territories, the Graphic Design Educators’ Network second annual conference, which will explore the physical, intellectual and existential terrain of design learning and teaching.

9 September 2016
Cardiff School of Art and Design – B Block, Cardiff Metropolitan University Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 2YB

Post-doc survival

June 6, 2016

A workshop at the PhD by Design event at the Design Research Society conference in Brighton on June 27, 2016 – in collaboration with Joanna Boehnert (University of Westminster).

Download the outcomes of the workshop.

With the academic and industry-based research environment firmly embedded in neoliberal politics, precarious working environments area a problem even for those who manage to complete a doctorate. In many countries, early career academics face harsh prospects with low wage, insecure sessional teaching work and precarious fractional contracts.
Post-docs are vulnerable in times of extreme cost cutting measures by universities. We can work hard and hope to get that elusive permanent position that pays a living wage – but many of us feel like we can’t afford to risk the precarious work that we might have by campaigning for better conditions.

In this workshop we discuss working conditions for designers and design researchers. We will start with a panel that will discuss post-doc working conditions. This panel will catalyse a collective conversation on survival as an early career design researchers. What comes after the PhD? How does this differ across countries and shape this reality
collectively? Opening up discussions about what kind of environment this creates is timely, especially as ever more designers opt for research-led trajectories. What do we want and need to do our jobs well and have economically sustainable and emotionally satisfying lives? What kind of practices, skills and collective actions can help us in creating this environment?

With contributions by Cameron Tonkinwise (Carnegie Mellon University) and Dan Lockton (Royal College of Art).