Deadline July 15
Deadline July 15
Proceedings of the Design Research Society 2018
Date Written: June 3, 2018
Design is key to our collective liberation, but most design processes today reproduce inequalities structured by what Black feminist scholars call the matrix of domination. Intersecting inequalities are manifest at all levels of the design process. This paper builds upon the Design Justice Principles, developed by an emerging network of designers and community organizers, to propose a working definition of design justice: Design justice is a field of theory and practice that is concerned with how the design of objects and systems influences the distribution of risks, harms, and benefits among various groups of people. Design justice focuses on the ways that design reproduces, is reproduced by, and/or challenges the matrix of domination (white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism). Design justice is also a growing social movement that aims to ensure a more equitable distribution of design’s benefits and burdens; fair and meaningful participation in design decisions; and recognition of community based design traditions, knowledge, and practices.
Keywords: design, design justice, intersectionality, intersectional feminism, matrix of domination
Women Design (Frances Lincoln) assumes the Herculean task of highlighting women’s contributions to design–including architecture, industrial design, digital design, and graphics–from the 20th century to the present day. It has no business being just 176 pages, but author Libby Sellers, a prominent British gallerist and curator, manages to pack a wealth of information in profiles of 21 women designers. Historic pioneers such as Denise Scott Brown, Ray Eames, and Lella Vignelli get their due, as well as contemporary stars like Neri Oxman, Patricia Urquiola, and Kazuyo Sejima. “Women have always been, and remain, a significant part of the design profession,” Sellers wrote. “. . . Yet, if asked to name the design world’s greats, most people would produce a list of predominantly male names.” This book attempts to correct the narrative, and it tells some rollicking stories along the way. Be sure to check out the section on the “Damsels of Design,” a group of women industrial designers GM hired to address what a 1957 press release described as “woman driver’s problems” like “anything in cars that might snag their nylons.” (Text from Co.Design)