A proposed design method that fuses intersectional feminist values into daily and tangible design habits.
In nature, dandelions not only spread themselves but their community structure; Manifesting their essential qualities of detoxifying their grounds. Like spreading dandelion seeds, our method intuitively incorporates intersectional feminist values in the daily design environment, as means to set ground of its values, train our creativity in a mindful manner and day-to-day scope, and ease tackling the current disconnect of feminism and design.
Our Online Exhibition:
As women who have been living in different countries, we are aware that gender oppression against women is still prevalent regardless of which social systems we live in. Especially, in our current case, we are women, people of color, foreigners, and female designers who live in typical white-western society. The oppressive issues turn to be more complex and multi-layers.
Moreover, we understand that all raw materials do not contain political standpoints naturally, but in the process of using them to shape design products, designers endow the raw materials with their political standpoints. If we analogize designers to the creators of social environments, and if designers themselves can escape from the frame of "passive sexism” mindset, meanwhile designing and creating design products that are liberated from soft-misogynistic complexes, can we solve the intersectional issue from the root completely? This is where we started, and with our backgrounds, we believe that we are equipped with suitable lenses, as well as non-stoppable motivation.
After having talked to some active feminists and designers, a core question came to mind, of whether design could truly embody feminist values and thinking? We found this to be very critical and it became our main motivation, to make intersectional feminist thinking more operational in our design environment.
A two-deck set of evaluative critical method cards.
A randomized set of playful intersectional creative thinking method toolkit.
A balanced set of playful and operational intersectional feminist method seed.
Observe your surroundings, sketch 5 obeservations that draw your attention and try to go beyond the visual sensation to extend the other sensation(scent, touch, hearing, taste).
Resistance & Sensibility
By practice our tools, we hope designers would start to recognize and respect the existed relationships/connections between them and their surroundings while keeping accumulate more diverse relationships/connections by acknowledging the interdependence that happens around them.
Through this activity, we hope designers could get a chance to train their sensibility of seeing and feeling their surroundings, and therefore visualizing the Invisibles.
With a stranger(s), do the small crafts from the package, and discuss the questions suggested on the origami paper.
Decentralization & Diversity
By doing this activity, we encourage designers to go out of their bubbles. Through doing the small crafts together with strangers and get the chance to talk with people who are not in their social circle, we hope designers could get the chance to reach and respect the diversity of their surrounding/society.
Break the notion of the “mythical norm” and imagine your user group as non-male/non-white/non-wealthy/etc. group. Would your design still solve their essential needs?
Regeneration & Diversity
The feminist theory strives to represent human diversity. By respecting the diversity of the environment, and taking them into account, we assert that consciousness - raising is a legitimate way of seeing and is therefore a methodological tool as well.
Think and write down the the possible impacts of your project (both negative & positive) on 3 layers: 1) on your user’s daily life; 2) on your user’s close circle (family, friends, work colleagues); 3) on your user’s broader society (cultural, social, ecological, etc. systems)
Systemic Thinking & Interactivity
To think before you act is an intersectional feminist value as it entails one to be mindful and reflect upon their contribution in an eco-systemic view. By practice this activity, we hope to mind designers being sensitive to their decisions and thinking about the consequences of their ideas in multi-layers.
Investigate a intersectionally problematic design from your opinion, and disscuss with the others the possible changes and improvements.
In this activity, we use a seed-like topic issue to trigger an urgency and perhaps start instrinsic conversations between designers and the people around them. By practicing this activity, we hope it could help designers to see the blindspots (misuses), practice evaluative and critical thinking skills.
Talk about your motvation in personal aspect with your teammates. One speaks, another one takes note and rephrase later. Then switch the role.
Reflectivity & Sensibility
The concept of neutrality in mainstream design system is bias. To that, the feminist lens emphasizes on the need for individuals to situate and identify (gender, class, ethnic background, age, ability, environment, etc.) themselves when voicing their ideas. This is as means to refer and understand the decisions made and how to make a more concious decisions going forwards.