Beyond Change: Questioning the role of design in times of global transformations, was hosted from March 8-11 at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. The conference brought together researchers, designers, student ambassadors, activists, feminists, environmentalists, writers, educators etc. The research summit’s aim was to shine a critical light on the complex interconnections of design – also as a response to the tendency of seeing global crisis as a worldwide design competition. The venue was a space for dialogue and for exchanging ideas. It offered me many opportunities to connect with people who intersect the design hub in a similar and critical way. Through workshops, keynote lectures, conversations, I connected with inspiring people from around the world, discovering professionals who are working towards fostering support, community and solidarity within and beyond the design community.
The keynote speech by Ramia Mazé (Aalto University professor of New Frontiers in Design) resonates with me. To quote: “Designers are not born…they become.” In other words, not made, but rather constantly in the making, becoming. She stresses that there can’t be final decisions on critical issues, and as I also interpret it, final decisions on what constitutes a designer.
I wish to open up this post beyond myself and to ask several Beyond Change attendees that I connected with to share one short note that they wrote down about this conference. These notes come from researchers, speakers, activists, educators, students and friends:
[Institutions are only people – written during Ramia Mazé]
[Depression is a community based-experience]
[What resources do we need to not go to pieces while doing critical work?]
[The platforms also demonstrate a critical mass of practitioners finding their own ways to network, practice and collectivize outside the mainstream economy.]
[What is the value of translating education into a design medium?]
[Beyond change was very rich because it was plural, and also because it was emotionally intense.]
[Too often we are so busy trying to get our own voices heard that we forget that how we say things is equally important as what we say. Beyond Change reminded me, in good and bad ways, of how crucial it is to understand the context and history of societies and individuals when debating and taking a stand.]
[Resistance is frustrating and there’s no way to solve the problem but we can resist it in daily practices. – Note written during Decolonising Design group discussion (not sure if this is quote from someone or my conclusion of something, also Mia Charlene White said something very similar, but this was written during Decolonising Design session)]
[“Forget the individual (!!!)” – Quote from Mia Charlene White
(this quote continued nicely and she said something about everyone representing so many ancestors, but unfortunately I didn’t write it down fully)]
[I am not me. I am a manifestation of my ancestors. -Written during Mia Charlene White’s talk]