Monthly Archives: August 2013

Alin Coop – Learning contract

What I want from this class, this semester:

Result: Distinction
How I will achieve it:
– Be involved
– Contribute
– Expand awareness
– Achieve a connection
– Develop empathy

Time: 10-15 hours per week

– Achieve a sense of accomplishment
– Personal growth
– Satisfaction
– Deeper empathy

Twitter: 10-14 tweets per week

Giving up:
Short term – Smartphone and laptop for 48 hours
Long term – Fast food

Design activism: International Wish Wall

Public activism: Home Insulation Scheme


“You’ve come to university to learn, but have you come to change?” – Soumitri

Public and Design Activism

When it comes to public activism, I’ve got to stop being a child, and stop being scared of voicing my opinion. It’s my responsibility as a citizen to showcase myself as a change-maker, to try and improve our society in whatever way I can. Change making is about 3 things; advocacy, activism and agency. To be a change-maker you have to understand these 3 concepts. 

Advocacy: to fight for somebody. Where someone can’t achieve a better quality of life, and you step in to lobby on their behalf. For example, when did women get to vote? When did they become equal? The answer, they still aren’t equal! Look at Julia Gillard. When does a man in politics get harshly judged based on their body shape, hair colour, dress sense or tone of voice? 

Activism: anything that you do has been fought and won for you. What are you doing to give back? If nothing – are you guilty? People need to have a bleeding heart, to connect to the things inside you that drive your passion and ignite your sense of irritation. You’re no different than the people before you. You can make a difference too. The fact that people don’t care is an accidental mistake. Ask an Architect what he thinks of women being allowed on the front line. He’ll probably tell you that he doesn’t care or doesn’t have an opinion – and that is a problem. To make a real change in this world, people need to give a damn. They need to show care and compassion towards people or things that are happening in the world. These issues aren’t going to resolve themselves by people living in their own little bubble, only being concerned by the trivial problems in their lives. We have to be active public citizens. 

Agency: I’m not a nobody. I can say things – and if they’re wrong – at least they’re out there. When you feel like you can achieve something, you are an agent. We are agents for change. Statistics show that approx. 80% of refugees live in 3rd world countries. And what do we do? We put up walls, barriers between ‘them’ and ‘us’. What do poor people do? They welcome them with open arms, tell them to come and join the party. Take Tibet for example, some people left and went to India, no worries. Some people stayed. Why don’t we accept them? Because that’s the kind of people we are. 

Public Activism is not just about going and yelling stuff out in protesting mobs when you’re feeling overcome by anger or disgust. It’s about the small stuff too. As Soumitri professed “Be empathetic not pathetic”. If you’re walking along the street and a homeless person is asking for money, should you just chuck them 70 cents from your back pocket and keep walking? No. Have you got time to give to them? If so, tell them the story of your life. Share something with them. Be a person and treat them like you would your mate next door. Let’s be honest people, it’s likely to be 5 minutes out of your day, but imagine what it could do for that person with whom you spoke. There are other ways that you can show public activism, from personal experience, taking part in charity based events such as the ’40 Hour Famine’ and ‘Relay 4 Life’ are unforgettable experiences that not only promote awareness within your local community, but also have great benefits in terms of aid and monetary assistance to the companies that you are supporting. For me, another form of public activism is through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I have a large number of friends on these platforms, which I can use as an outlet for posting whatever I like. When I ‘share’ or ‘post’ or ‘tweet’ information, it is potentially seen by a vast number of young people. Instead of scrolling through a lot of rubbish on Facebook in particular, people could be learning about current world issues, as well as opportunities to be involved in their community. 

Design Activism is a tool that could potentially be very powerful, and make a difference in the way that people do or interact with everyday things. A designer is someone who is fundamentally radical. Everyone knows that we are a consumerist society battling monumental issues of climate change and global warming. Design strategies can be put into place to elicit behaviour change in consumers. Critical thinking in terms of sustainability and service design are two areas that I have recently spent a lot of time learning about. It is paramount that not only designers, but also citizens, are thinking about ways of living more sustainably, for it is our loved ones living in the future that will pay the price of our polluted earth. It is the responsibility of everyone to change the we way live and consume and dispose of things. It is not acceptable to be spoon fed, only knowing what you’ve been taught. We need to be porous individuals, constantly soaking in news and technology and squeezing out thought, feelings, and scope for change. 

Shebeen – Design Activism / Physical Activism

Design Activism for me seems to be largely a new topic. For years i have designed without ay thought of activism and my place as a citizen of the world. I guess that is the point of the class, Change.

So what is Design Activism.  Using recycled products?  Thinking of the lifespan of Products? Avoiding Incremental design? maybe.  But i’m starting to think the process should start earlier. Whats the purpose of the design/product/business? Do we/i need this? Perhaps i’m thinking my way out of this profession.  Traditionally most eco – design or conscious design, especially in the fashion industry (which i have the most experience), have been extremely boring or aimed at the “niche” not the “masses”. Providing an exclusivity and stigma to that particular choice.

I believe that most people faced with a choice on design will opt for one that benefits all, not just the few and i guess its up to us to show this design/purpose with a clear and concise view.

As far as examples are concerned of design activism… The one that comes to mind for me is Shebeen.

Shebeen is a bar that has recently opened its doors in Melbourne city’s Manchester Lane. So whats the difference?  The profits made from this bar go to aid in the developing world.  They probably explain the concept much better than me, so…. Read below from the website.

Shebeen In Manchester Lane.

We donate 100% of our profits, and your choice at the bar determines where they end up. Here’s how it works… Every beer, wine, cider and margarita sale sends funds back to that drink’s country of origin. We’ve made sure your money ends up in the right pockets by scouring the globe to find some of the smartest organisations tackling poverty in the developing world. So sit back and leave us to do the hard work while you feel good—even tomorrow morning.

Simon Griffiths – Creator & Driving Force behind Shebeen and WhoGivesACrap

By designing a business with mutual benefits as opposed to a charity, Simon (see above) has created a business with a belief in the future and a understanding that change must occur.  

So, My design Activism. What i want to achieve. Is a better, fairer and more just way to produce/design/manufacture footwear.  There are many issue’s, not allot of sollutions, but i’m going to try.   I don’t wanna feel guilty about the industry i work in. So i/we must change it.

My Physical activism currently consist’s of me trying to drink at places like this. More specifically dealing with business’ that have ethics inline with my own. Changing my behaviors to effect others for the better.

I have allot of work ahead of me……. but i have started a Tumblr.

In the mean time, go for a beer at Shebeen.

The greener pasture seekers


The issue of people coming to Australia is simply a natural phenomenon since the dawn of humanity when we grew legs to walk, hands to build tools and arms to paddle with. People wanting to come to this massive country will not stop, regardless which policy Australia goes with.  People inherently move to better pastures for greener grass, if that is what people are coming for.

When the earliest Aboriginal people developed their culture here, some walked through a land mass connecting northern Australia with Asia. Thousands of years later it was white settlers on a conquest of discovery and colonisation, although the colonising part was perhaps more important than the search for green grass (especially if they arrived during the height of an Australian summer with blow flies).

Today and recently, Australia faces further influxes of people in ever increasing diversities. Most notably with the Greeks after World War Two, making Melbourne the 2nd Greek capital of the world and a haven for the 2am city souvlaki.  Jews also left persecution and war in Europe and Palestine at the same time. Wars and persecution continued through time with Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Africa and various Muslim countries and now the ‘boat people’ issue is politicized for the issue of national identity and fear. If war and persecution continue, yes, people will seek greener pastures.  I say YES to that.

Refelctions of the First class

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First class… Lots of unsureness.

Dr Varadarajan kept asking how we felt. Angry, confused, frustrated, excited was not what he was looking for? Irritated was the word.That was irritating.

When I arrived in Melbourne 10 years ago, it was the first time when I really left my parents and friends– the physical and emotional support I had access to at any time. Sooner than I’d expect, one of the first things I learnt was that “everybody was afraid of changes”. People tend to cling to what they had believed, learnt and had like a shellfish clinging onto the rocks nearly everywhere. There were moments when I was scared, confused (very) and angry. Yet, I made a decision back then, I want to be a person who’s not afraid of changes. That’s why I chose this topic.

Back in the class, Soumitri was asking about subjects I felt that I knew but I didn’t. How annoying! Arab spring? How many times it was talked about at home and we said that China would never let this happen to the CCP? All I took notice was that all videos of the Egyptian riots etc were blocked on the Chinese internet. Chinese people think is the God search engine in the world because they only know a disabled Google. I tried to convert my parents to Google users, but I had to admit, in China, Baidu does work better, BUT it does not tell you the answer of what you are looking for, pathetic.

So maybe I have become one of the middle side animals that he was talking about? NO. I don’t think so. Certainly I failed to response to Soumitri’s challenge in the class but I do get “irritated”. For example, when the high speed train crashed in China and killed thousands, leaving families and friends broken hearted, it only made headline in the news for a week. Then, a ray of anti-Japanese campaign started. People seemed to had forgotten about all the many killed and who should have taken responsibility for the tragedy. Patriotism soon took over in the media. As far as I remembered, whenever there is a national scandal/tragedy, there is always an anti-Japanese or anti-American, or anti-French campaign following up sooner than you’d expect.

A designer should not be afraid of changes. He should not be afraid of making changes, to other’s work but most importantly, his own work. That, is a challenge.



Hi, my name is Said Hassan. I’m born in Lebanon and raised in Australia. I arrived in Australia when I was about four years of age with my whole family in 1997. We’ve been here ever since. I took a holiday to Lebanon to go see my friends and family and it was interesting to see the difference especially living most of my life in Australia. I found Lebanon to be a country which was once a beautiful country in terms of the environment, the people and the atmosphere. I saw it as a scarred country. The war is what segregated the people, it demolished relationships between the country itself, there is no more trust and everyone is to themselves – (everyone and their family). But at the same time it created love. People would move around Lebanon to stay away from bombs and shootings and rest at peoples homes, sometimes sleep there for days and weeks. Although I wasn’t there to experience it, my parents were the ones who would often welcome people who fled their home towns and give them a safe place to stay. So I just want to say how lucky we are to be in Australia living peacefully. Now I’m a second year industrial design student hoping to get into the field of automotive design in the future.  



My first impression of the studies class wasn’t what I expected. It’s was much more intense but the concept of the course is to create change and you cant change the world if you don’t change yourself first. We are to find things that irritate us, things that anger us, things that need to change through us designers (activists).  We created a twitter account to tweet about things that stimulate us. I have never used twitter before and so far its been a pleasure to use and see what other have to say on similar topics. This class makes you aware of the political side of things around the world whatever the topic may be. I’ve never been drawn to such topics but I’m slowly getting my head around it and its interesting. Its about using your emotions and getting them to work at the right time and acting upon them for the better, for change. I think I can get furious about many things and lets hope we can make a transformation.


Asylum Seekers – My view

Australia is no doubt a land of opportunity, its a peaceful country where everyone has equal rights. Everyone would love to live in such a secure place for themselves and for the sake of their families. People want to escape war or persecution and flee to the shores of Australia. That is what a real asylum seekers are considered. But there are also fake asylum seekers which people also believe in. Its people who try and sneak in which is what is driving the Australian people mad. They believe they are wasting money on asylum seekers. These few people are wrecking it for the real asylum seekers who want to seek refuge in Australia. Generally people are very accepting of asylum seekers and refugees if they feel they’ve been through the appropriate channels. Calling asylum seekers ‘illegals’ and ‘queue jumpers’ dehumanises people and their experience. This is what is causing the negative response which is a contributing factor of the off-shore relocation. The Rudd governments’ controversial policy is aimed at putting a stop to asylum seekers attempting dangerous sea journeys. Several boats carrying asylum seekers have capsized in or near Australian waters in recent years, with numerous fatalities but the government should have some dignity and accept asylum seekers. Relocation is something they can deal with for the time being but not to permanently reject them from entering Australia because some people who have everything and are living a comfortable life don’t feel with the asylum seekers. I am grateful that my parents made it alive due to the war overseas. I suppose you have to put yourself in their shoes and see what you will do next. Lets not only use our brains but our hearts as well. 

my uninformed slant on refugees

The topic of refugees is hot news at the moment. When asked to write about the issue, I found it difficult to draw all of my thoughts together. So i’ll try and keep it simple.

I think everyone deserves the chance to seek asylum. I feel like refugees should be allowed to come to Australia in hopes of salvation from times of war, political oppression or religious persecution. However, in my opinion, it is too dangerous to attempt to do so by boat. And once a refugee arrives in Australia, who’s to say that they won’t be stuck in an asylum centre for multiple years. Is being trapped, alone, in a foreign country and culture a better alternative? And then there is the argument that once refugees settle in to Australia, will they be taking jobs from Australian citizens? One could argue that it is better for refugees to be working, and contributing to society, rather than doing nothing. And that they are more likely to do jobs that many Australian citizens wouldn’t want to do themselves. It’s a lot to consider. And the question that seems to be unanswered, is how do you stop them getting on a boat?

Reflection on our first class (26/07/2013)




~20, Melbourne, Australia
*RMIT Industrial Design, Change Design as advocacy, activism, agency


The day started off by testing my patients as struggled to find a park in the bustling streets of inner city Melbourne at 9am on a Friday morning. That was my first mistake of the day, choosing to drive to uni. As I overcame my first obstacle I walked along Swanston Street to class. I reached building 12, so consequently building 13 should be the next one along, right? Wrong. My heart sank as I discovered that the building I was looking for, b13, was not sitting nicely between building 12 and 14, which I assumed it would be. That was my second mistake of the day, making an assumption. So panic stations kicked in as I frantically bashed at the screen of my iPhone, searching for the location of my classroom. Up to Victoria Street I marched with a look of distress on my face and a sprinkle of sweat on my brow. I’d reached the building, what I relief. “She’ll be right from here on in” I thought to myself, but how wrong I was again! Up and down lifts, in and out of empty rooms, up and down stairs. Who would have thought that to get to level 4 room 1 you don’t just hop in the lift and press the blue ‘4’ button. Instead you press the blue ‘3’ button, hop out of the lift, go around the corner, up a flight of fancy stairs, and arrive at your first class 15 minutes late. How stressful. That will teach me to know where I’m going before I leave home. “Sorry I’m late” I said to Soumitri, whose reply was “Are you really?” wow that was not the first impression I was hoping for. Change Design as advocacy/activism/agency was the elective that I balloted for second. I’ve previously had Liam as a tutor and I feel that he brings a lot out of me. I also chose this subject because I didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the topic of change and I felt like I didn’t really know very much about the world. Well I was right about that one… Class progressed and Soumitri challenged us by asking questions about topics that none of us knew very much about, like the Arab Spring, the London Riots and the Island of Nauru. He said that we were shit middle-class people that don’t care about the rest of the world, and that we design things to take money off the rich people of our society. I guess my worries of this morning were pretty worthless in the grand scheme of things. He asked us how we felt about class thus far. We used words such as “worried, curious and shy”, and he was unimpressed by our ability to articulate our emotions. Class discussion began and not many people were contributing all that greatly to the debate, including myself. I think this is partly because we were shocked at Soumitri’s sense of irritation but also because quite honestly I didn’t know very much about the topics of discussion. I felt quite ignorant. On the back of my jumper was the word “coach”. Soumitri asked, “Are you a coach?” to which I replied “Yes”. He asked “What do you coach?” and I answered “Volleyball”, which followed by Soumitri replying “Bloody Hell”. What was that supposed to mean? I felt quite offended. I think that Soumitri was trying to push our buttons, make us feel irritated, maybe even angry. He wanted to spark something from within us that would create a reaction, to ignite a sense of drive for change. And he succeeded. The objective of this class is to make us free thinkers who can connect with our feelings and sense of irritation. Once we’d achieved this, once we had a sense of purpose and need for change, we learnt that people our age could make a difference. To become a change maker you have to become a bit stronger and a bit more confident. We have to put aside Australia’s tall poppy syndrome and not let people knock us down if we succeed. Let’s pretend I am a woolen knitted scarf. At the moment I’m looking a bit scruffy. I’ve got a few holes here and there and I’m not very good at being warm. My goal is to unpick and unravel myself. Pull on threads that need to be pulled and then reconstitute myself into a better scarf, to put myself back together. 

Introduction – Adrian

I’m Adrian Cajili, a 19 year old Industrial Design student at RMIT. I was born in the Philippines and moved Australia with my parents and brother in 1995, Can’t really say much besides the fact that my life is social media, gaming and music.

I’ve always been interested in drawing, and design, specifically graphic and product design, and like I said in class ‘I love drawing cartoons’. I don’t know where I see myself after I graduate, I’m hoping the next 2 years shine light on my path for the future,

I’ve always been a fence sitter (I know…shocking), I was taught by my parents at an early age to just ‘never get involved’, from fights in school, on the streets, or with friends and family. I personally find it hard to choose a side in arguments, always worrying about the consequences and the people being affected.

For the class itself, I rarely voice my opinion on anything but entertainment and gaming news and want to get more involved with current news and events, and not just stand back and say “Woah…I dont even want to go there”.

The PNG refugee solution – My thoughts

Ill try not to rant to much about this,  First and foremost we must remember to think of  these are people we are talking about as people, just like you or I .  Most of which are leaving there country’s not because they want to, but because the have to.

“We do not need to be protected from asylum seekers: they need to be protected from their persecutors.” –  Julian Burnside

These people are not “illegals” as there are referred to as they have done nothing illegal. Everyone is entitled to seek Asylum in any country or territory, it is a human right. I think this issue is more about the portrayal of the people through the media that has now escalated it to a major issue for election.

“Border Protection” or “Border Security” implies we should be worried about these asylum seekers and should be considered threats to Australia and its people. But where is the evidence of this?

There must be a better way to treat these people while they are being processed?

I found the below article insightful.

It is more expensive and less humane, the PNG solution. We need to change.