Intersectional Perspectives on Design, Politics and Power – Session Two

Why people do not rebel? Issues of self-marginalisation in design for mental health
by Paola Pierri

In this paper, I will take the opportunity of the Symposium organised by the Decolonising Design Group to explore what does applying a lens on intersectionality do to my practice and my research around issues of participation and agency in design. I will start by introducing my research interest and my current practice and reflecting on the issue of participation in design. I will then apply an intersectional lens to my thinking and my practice, working with people with mental health conditions, trying to reframe the issue of inclusion/exclusion through the work of Patricia Hill Collins and her conceptualisation of the ‘outsider within’. I will conclude my paper by reflecting on what is still missing and where the failures and frustrations are in my work in mental health at the moment, and present the areas that I am currently exploring as possible ways forward to improve the impact that my practice can have, by looking at how to politically link social suffering and power.

Full paper available here.

Intersectional Perspectives in the Context of South Asia
by Manahil Huda

South Asia’s, specifically Pakistan’s design dynamics are very unique since the culture is very different when compared to the rest of the world. In my paper and discussion I take two examples, one of Pakola (a green ice-cream soda flavored drink) and one of the laltain (Lantern) as an election symbol and discuss in their reference how design and politics influence each other in an intersectional manner, especially when an audience is oblivious of the power of design. The origins of the drink and the lantern; and concepts of class, nationalism, gender, and education level are discussed. The focus is to try to understand the ways in which power structures are defined in Pakistan and how do they address the common man with the help of design.

Full paper available here.

White Standard
by Márton Kabai

The White standard is a design research that manifests as a magazine with a map. It attempts to draw a line between the early physical anthropology until today’s beauty standards. This project was rises questions as: What is common between colonial skin color charts and today’s skin bleaching products? How whiteness counterparts with power, authority and maintains colonial inferiority that preserves the post-cold war world order. How advanced capitalism can justify and commercialize race and gender differences in favor of the white man? How commercial design becomes a propaganda machine and has a significant role of serving the actual power structure? How design can be used in order to be independent from commercial interest? The magazine presents 33 skin whitening products, advertisements and critical essays. The map shows how corporations and its brands take similar arrangement as it was at the colonial times, as if colonialism has never ended.

Debate (audio)
moderated by Danah Abdulla






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