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.
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.
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.