The Disconnect Between Design Practice and Political Interests
The Need for a Long-Term Political Engagement as Design Practice
Keywords:political participation, civic engagement, Transition Design, policy design
Long-term, sustainable transitions cannot occur without working at the political level to address the serious, global political challenges we are facing today. However, the capacity of design as a rigorous component and complement of the political world is yet to be seen. In this paper we discuss surveys we conducted, showing that there is a clear discrepancy between how designers engage in the political process as citizens and as professionals. We also discuss a subsequent workshop which allowed survey participants to explore these questions of roles and agency in greater depth and offered insights into barriers and opportunities. We found the workshop to be an effective method of helping designers identify leverage points and courses to intervene within both the designer’s sphere of influence and sphere of concern. In so doing, we might begin to draw more designers into the critical work of designing for a transition towards more inclusive and equitable socio-political futures.