Socialising design for debate

Bastien Kerspern, Estelle Hary, Design Friction, F, Unfrozen, workshop

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The session is a hybrid format between informal talks and a workshop, inviting participants to discuss and define experiential and interventionist formats to address some of the current criticisms made about design for debate. 

One of the main criticism addressed to design for debate, and related disciplines such as speculative design, design fiction or critical design, is its lack of openness and its focus on ”middleclass white“ problems. In this sense, according to criticism,1 design for debate mainly concentrates on issues linked to a restricted part of the population and, consequently, addresses itself only to this specific audience. A second point raised against design for debate is its lack of visible impact. In a society obsessed with metrics, design for debate, dealing with people’s values and beliefs, might then be considered a ”useless“ discipline as its effects are hardly measurable.

In order to overcome the previously mentioned issues linked to the current practice of design for debate, we propose to explore three different approaches that could add up to it. Our first point would consider the necessity of documenting the process of creation as well as the discussions happening from projects. Should we document those works ? If so, how should those elements be documented and archived ? What and how can be used those elements ?