Tool #9: Unsettling our world-view

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As designers we are taught that with our work we contribute greatly to shaping the world around us: its look, feel, social interactions and so on. Taking this taught notion as a guide, the pressing need emerges to unsettle our designerly world-view. Because much of what designers produce is in fact perpetuating a human-centred, male, able-bodied, (upper) middle class approach to framing and reproducing the world around us. Can design really manifest its potential for contributing to a world that a wide range of beings find liveable, if so then designers need to take on a much needed reconfiguration of their world-view.

There is much critical theory and philosophy out there that one can engage with – such as feminist and autonomist marxism, post-structuralist and post-humanist philosophy, queer and post-colonial theory. But there are also many practical situations to get involved in that allow for a reframing of an acquired, (rather) exclusive, view of the world, such as social and humanitarian work, post-disaster relief work, activities related to social movements such as Occupy! or No Border, anti-mafia work camps and many more. By engaging through theory and practice as a reconstruction of how we see and interact with the work, an incredible multiplication of role models can be generated and a shift can occur in regards to what designers care about, how they position themselves in the world and how they contribute to the world.

Last edit: 21.11.2014