Design Advocacy Activism Agency – Reflection

I decided to choose Advocacy Activism and Agency to study this semester because it was the subject i knew least about. Going into class the first I’m I had little to no idea what to expect – except that I would be exposed to something that I hadn’t really considered before.

Previous to commencing this class, I identified the problems present in the world an issue for someone to work out. Regardless of an issues scale I would not identify myself to be the one to make a change.

The culture around me is very much one of exerting energy and time in exchange for a personal gain, often money. As a result the notion of charity in the context of giving your time and energy can be considered subordinate and often overlooked completely. More often than not, throwing money at a problem (for someone else to solve) is seen as an acceptable form of charity.

During the last couple of weeks my view of change has shifted, from being someone else’s job to being more concern of my own. I have considered what type of person I need to become and what attributes are required to make a change. I have considered what it means to be a ‘Global Citizen’. I have also explored some relevant tools, giving activists a voice and ability to reach global audiences.

Activism requires a leader who pushes forth with an idea without fear of being right or wrong.  An activist is someone who gets excited about their beliefs and puts a lot of energy into exciting others.

Up until now I have not been a user of Twitter nor WordPress. I have heard countless people carry on about the importance and global reach of twitter but never saw the importance. Since using it I have had many interesting experiences from reading people carry on about the morning train that metro did not run – to international protest being annotated live into my twitter feed. I can now see the importance of the ability to reach a large audience in real time. However I’m still struggling to filter out information that is useful to me. I would say about 80% of the tweets that stream through my tweet deck are of little substance. (The remaining 20% is of course that from the #ChangeAAA group). I find twitter works very well in conjunction with my short attention span, a lot of time I cannot concentrate on reading an entire article or blog post.

I am enjoying thinking in this way. I’m also thinking about what it means to be a design activist. How we can design as a medium and objects as a media for change and activism.

As our first form of activism we (our design group led by Roger) decided to give up superfluous packaging. I’ve always been a fan of getting objects with really nice packaging. I think it’s quite common for people to be drawn to a product that has more packaging than necessary. Even to me this seemed like a relatively innocent act, on the scale of yourself and this one product. As you begin to look at the bigger picture and look at the volumes of packaging being consumed and discarded, it all adds up.  The amount of time that packaging serves its purpose in its own lifecycle is fleeting.

What can WE do? Stay tuned.

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