Radical design praxis and the problematics of intent
This article explores counter-design as a radical meaning-making practice for community co-design. Radicalism, here, is an ongoing process of complicating and unsettling daily practices to reveal and thus acknowledge socio-political context. Semiotic analysis of ethnographic research with grassroots organisations is taken as the point of departure to understand how communities co-design meaning, and in turn how we might co-design new meanings through countering. Through counter-design in place, we observe small semiotic moments that problematise the rhetoric of horizontal democratic organising amongst the realities of coercion and power asymmetries. These semiotic moments are thus significant for how they reveal the reproduction of meaning and how this constructs, and can subsequently limit, the possible actions for these communities. In this sense, our approach is constituted as design praxis, through which we analyse what it means to employ countering against existing institutional power, both for our participants and for ourselves as designers. Here we reveal the tenuousness of (designer/ly) intent in relation to and in combination with the artifice of readymade community designs, as these are shaped by work ‘on the ground’ and consider how this might impact the co-creation of democratic communities.
Counter-framing design: Radical Design Practices for Sustainability and Social Change
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- Loughborough University London
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© The Author(s)
Publisher statementThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.