Design activism – a reflection.

First of all, this has already been an interesting and challenging journey, and I don’t for a second think that it is anywhere nearing the end. I arrived in this class with no idea where it would take me; I still feel a little bit unsure where the classes will go from here.

When I was asked in the first class what I wanted to gain from this subject I said “I like the idea of changing the way I think about design”. I have definitely been challenged in that way to question things that I see and hear about, I definitely didn’t expect it to be such an enjoyable change in thinking.

The world is in no way a perfect place, to begin thinking like an activist is to see that there is an endless amount of work to be done in all corners of the globe.

Design was, to me, just the process of making a useful and visually appealing product. I have already changed my way of thinking to some degree, realising that design is a much more involved concept. Design can change people’s lives, design can change things for the better in a much more important way than I have ever thought of before.

I am enjoying this change in the way I think about design. I don’t think being an activist is something that happens without a lot of thought, but it seems to be able to provide a lot of joy and pride in whatever the focus is on.


The task of choosing to give up something that we believe needs to change was a very interesting one. I initially thought about coffee, that seemed like the most drastic substance that I think would be a massive challenge to get used to. After a bit of research I realised that the problems that have existed with the unfair way coffee beans were sourced had received quite a bit of attention. From what I read, were to a certain extent, a thing of the past.

I then brought my focus on a topic that is much more local. I had read a few articles over the past year dealing with the big chain grocery stores and their unquenchable thirst for dominance in the Australian food sector.

I have heard many stories about their ruthless methods of driving up their market share, which usually leave the farmer with even less money and control.

There are quite a few small grocers near to my house. Even with prices ever so slightly higher I will not be so short sighted with my food shopping, buying from these little guys will in the long run be a positive thing for the industry.

For the next few weeks I will be reading a lot. This type of design activism will take a lot of investigation to ensure the right approach is taken, but I am very excited about what is to come.Image

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