In a framework in which Italian universities are acting to promote the use of an inclusive language from the point of view of gender and sexual identities, the following questions emerged: what does it mean to foster a gender-sensitive language for designers involved in communication? Is it possible to draw up a set of suggestions and guidelines encompassing verbal language as well as the iconic language that is peculiar to communication design? This contribution is aimed at fostering the reflection concerning good practices – which, as designers, we are called upon, by social responsibility, to put into action in our work – for gender-inclusive design through the presentation of a case study: the 'Manifesto for a gender-sensitive communication', drawn up by the dcxcg (communication design for gender cultures) research group. The manifesto opens with a declaration of intent and it aims to provide suggestions and alternative forms that enable designers to overcome the sexist bias perpetuated by iconic and verbal language, without breaking recognised linguistic and grammatical rules. In a path that goes from the particular to the general, 10 principles were identified and summarised, 10 unavoidable requirements, to which we believe gender-sensitive iconic and verbal language must respond. The aim is to state a stance and provide communication designers with a useful tool to activate a series of inclusive good practices and to carry out a self-examination and critical reading of their own work.
Cultural heritage embodied in traditional crafts is an integral part of the culture, economy, and society in developed and developing countries. Even though it is widely acknowledged that handicrafts have value as unique and sustainable forms of production, their preservation, promotion, and growth have been threatened by the forces of globalization and mass production. Due to the decline in interest among younger generations in traditions characterized by antiquated features, staticity, irrelevance, gender, and marginalization, weaving by women in rural communities in the United Arab Emirates has become extinct. In 2011 the traditional form of weaving known as Al Sadu was added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in need of urgent protection. This prompts a crucial query: Could weaving's transition from a handcraft to a comprehensive and transferrable design form protect it from the prospect of potential extinction? Through the creation of a continuous woven plane that unfolds and folds throughout the space, Intangible Tangible for the United Arab Emirates' Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2023 addressed this question and revealed the complex relationships between craft and design, material and space, and gender and making. The traditional biodegradable woven textile becomes a tangible structure when its complex forms and intricate connections are decoded as it unfolds. The proposal blurs the line between craft and design while materializing the weaver’s tangibility through the noble act of making.
Phulkari - Folk Art and Pragmatism : The Modular Grid as a Generative Form-making Tool View Digital Media
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session Anika Sarin
Phulkari is the folk art of needlework practiced by the Punjabi women of North India, the origin of which can be traced back to 7th century. This paper introduces a modular grid-based method of generative form-making, derived from Phulkari Embroidery. In it, a modular grid formed by a network of orthogonal lines is used as a generative tool to construct symmetric compositions. First, I show how the grid-based method is used to generate symmetric motifs in Phulkari embroidery, including the structure, rules, sequence, principles, and types. Second, I show the use of this method in generative form-making practice by inputing different sequences from a set of shapes into the grid to produce variations that are iterative, additive, repetitive, and multiplicative. As a design educator and graphic designer, I am challenged with sharing design history, methodology, and tools with students that are not confined to the western design heritage of the Industrial Revolution. This research brings forward a female-specific canon of South Asian women’s creative heritage, including the intimate relationship of the Phulkari artists with the modular grid, as these women explore what it means to connect art and pragmatic reason. I argue for the value of Phulkari embroidery as a domain for generative methods research, and discuss the research problems that are highlighted while operating in this new domain. This work contributes to an inclusive design heritage that shapes the politics of decolonization in design and creates a dialogue with social constructs of identity and power in design.
Design for Community: Exploring Values and Fostering Bonds of the Design Educators’ Community in St Petersburg View Digital Media
This study is driven by a curiosity on what keeps a professional community perceived as valuable and uniting, using the design educators’ community in St. Petersburg in Russia as an example. St. Petersburg is home to five major universities with design programs and a local branch of Designers Association, and has a rich cultural history. Yet, there is currently no clear evidence of academic design activities that would foster an active and bonding design community. Moreover, the scattering of the Russian design community in recent ten months increased the scale of the problem. To address that, we examined the perceived value and the current state of the design educators’ network in St. Petersburg using a human-centred design approach and identified the underlying issues shared by people in the community. These issues aspire us to explore small interventions which will foster a sense of inclusion, belonging and improve the community’s life, and we share and discuss them.
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session Jules Rochielle Sievert
As we look for methods to transform harm created by multiple marginalizations, oppression, and unequal access to justice, we must activate the Radical Imagination while embracing historical trauma's impact. Activating the Radical Imagination through Participatory Design offers advocates and activists a pathway to collectively explore complex legal ideas, histories, practices, and institutions in their social, cultural, and historical contexts. This chapter reflects on navigating wicked problems, entanglements, and complex socio-legal systems, while reflecting on practices and methods emphasizing the activation of participatory design, radical imagination, and trauma-informed design. It offers insights and reflections on how the activation of human agency can transform and repair the realm of the social-legal and harmful systems and institutions. Together, these methods can inform unequitable socio-legal institutions. The field of design is constantly evolving and adapting. Through time, our collective methods, awareness, tools, and techniques that factor into Restorative Design need to adjust to new realities and topics continually. Restorative Design offers a frame through which we can actively work with our students and community partners to create powerful new narratives that envision a way forward from harmful histories. The activation of radical imagination can inspire dialogue to contemplate the world we want instead of the world we have. Participatory Design is a strategy that aims to restore dignity, agency, and equity through the design process. This paper reflects on the NulawLab and our community partners, telling a powerful story of resistance, care, collaboration, coalition building, and survival.
Out of a variety of scripts for several languages in India, Odia is one of the widely used scripts, majorly used in the eastern state of Odisha in India. However, similar to many other Indic scripts, systematic study on the handwriting teaching process for Odia script has been largely neglected. Studies have found handwriting to have a substantial influence on children’s overall understanding of the visual forms of letters from early ages. In this context, this paper explored various methods to teach Odia letterform writing to elementary school children. A handwriting activity was conducted with children to analyze the impact of Odia handwriting education on children’s handwriting acquisition as well as Odia letterform comprehension. The process of handwriting education was considered as an early level design education for children, and hence, visual design attributes from the fields of typography and calligraphy were considered in order to analyze handwritten letters. The teaching methods of writing Odia letterforms were largely found to be unsystematic and highly individualistic. Finally, it was established that more investigation is required related to the anatomical aspects of Odia letterforms, grid structure, and writing methods to create a standardized knowledge repository that can assist the formation of a design-oriented curriculum for handwriting education.