Beyond Change was the title of this year’s research conference of the Swiss Design Network. It opened its doors symbolically on International Women’s Day – 8 March 2018. During the process of accreditation, visitors were given a pink badge with the motto “Beyond Change Patriarchy”. The conference programme had been carefully designed by the team of Prof. Claudia Mareis and Nina Paim, with the assistance of Vera Sacchetti, Sarah Haug and Julia Sommerfeld. It was progressive in nature and provided a forum for self-critical topics that have long become urgent and compelling within the discipline, and that also relate to social transformation. Here, looking back, is a personal selection of the challenges, issues and statements that emerged.
What power structures do designers reproduce? What discriminatory structures can be revealed, reflected upon and overcome at educational institutions for design? What claims to interpretational sovereignty exist in the design discourse, and whose interests do they represent? How can we achieve a paradigm shift in understanding the terms of design? What can “progress” mean in the 21st century? How and where can a decolonialist, feminist design practice find expression? And how may supportive design processes and products be created?