A design manifesto from a transformative feminist perspective — How we look at history today is how we make history tomorrow
Insist non-scripted democratised structures. Politics doesn’t disappear but takes place inside your body.
Macho sentiment. Scramble the hierarchy of centre and periphery of private and public, powerful and powerless. Avoid exploitation as a new form of social order. Acknowledge emotional labour. Stop outsourcing.
Kinships with people you want to be around; not populations, nor nations. Bring what’s outside inside intra-active communities. Include epistemological exclusivity. Everything you think you would be introduced to by networks of friends.
Acknowledge power structures. Speak for others in structural discrimination. How do you use your privilege? Be aware who’s speaking in the room. Are you too loud? Are you too silent? Your perspective is important – is it the most important one in the space? Reflect on your reality. Avoid emerging colonial discourses.
Queer the memory. Queer yesterday. Queer tomorrow. Queer now. Ask questions but do your research before. Don’t make your friends do free labour for their embodied experiences.
Docolonise empires & ecologies. Decolonise internet, data, your expectation. Observe your privilege. What am I suppose to own, label, achieve? Decolonise institutions, friends, partners, your dog, historically abused manifestos, indigenous catastrophes, western binaries, reading lists, who you quote?
Be aware of reproductive and climate justice. Be sustainable. What should sustain? What’s still missing? Include differences. Make every person in the room feel valued. Who’s outside the room?
Take direct actions in education. Rethink common knowledge. Where is it coming from? Be aware of your privilege and the colonial structure of power. Who gets to be recognised? Who gets to produce knowledge? Redesign how you think. Stretch design discipline. Be undisciplined. Amplify new networks of knowledge.
Believe in power processes of collectivism, surveillance of communication and social neutral resources. Embrace your power. Give power back.


The symposium welcomed artist Katie Numi (Belize City, Belize) elaborating about discrimination in art schools, feminist designer Lisa Baumgarten (Berlin, Germany) pointing out how discrimination follows design, design follows discrimination, and typographer Charlotte Rohde (Amsterdam, Netherlands) speaking about feminist discourse in typography.

KATIE NUMI USHER studied fine art at the Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán in Mexico. Three semesters before acquiring a degree, she returned to Belize, where she has been exploring Blackness, Black female erasure and questioning the status quo, in the Belizean context specifically questioning and deconstructing the colonial mindset through art.

LISA BAUMGARTEN is co-founder of the platform Teaching Design, which approaches design education from intersectional-feminist and decolonial perspectives. She works as a freelance designer and art director. She teaches at design colleges and universities in Germany. As a design educator, her focus is on exploring scopes for action and empowering students to question and break through established structures.

CHARLOTTE ROHDE is a (type-)designer and artist (1992, DE), currently based in Amsterdam. As part of the Sandberg Design Department, she is researching on how type as an extension of the body can function to shape feminist discourses within our society. Her work reaches from designing posters, books and her own typefaces to ceramic sculptures and spacial installations. She also writes poetry and essays, teaches workshops and hosts various events.

Each of the guests hold a presentation in reaction on how can we transform the art and design field to be more inclusive – transformative; decolonised, queer and intersectional. Strategies to follow transformative discourse were discussed from art, design and typographical perspective in order to embrace an inclusive practice.

More than 70 designers and educators joined from Berlin, Ghent, Hamburg, Leipzig, London, Montreal, New York, Oslo and Sharjah. Unfortunately, the event was verbally violated by the last speaker (transcript in the video). Read an elaborated essay about the Symposium soon. There’s no other feminism than the intersectional, there’s no other perspective than the queer one, there is no other process than the decolonised. We need to keep doing the work to eliminate hate, ignorance and privilege and push for an intersectional and decolonised approach to design and the world at large.