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Design & Oppression network

Design & Oppression is a network of students and professors fighting all kinds of oppression in and through design. The network includes an online weekly reading group, a series of Youtube videos, and an orchestrated participation in design events and conferences. The network is weaved by an expanding group of volunteer complicators spread across Brazil. The history of the network was presented at PIVOT 2021 Virtual Conference.

The design privilege walk held in one of the weekly meetings

Video series

In 2020, we have studied and discussed the work of Paulo Freire, Frantz Fanon, and bell hooks in relation to contemporary design issues such as participation, social justice, bias, and dialogue. We held a live dialogue on Youtube about each author’s potential contribution to design.

Collaborative, participatory, and emancipatory design

The network activities are all weaved together through horizontal collaborations between its weavers. The network has an open #metadesign activity every week to change and add new interaction structures. The intention is to provide an experience of anti-oppressive and liberating design within the network itself.

Codesigning the next Youtube video

Participation in events

The D&O network members participate in various academic and professional design events pushing forward a critical, liberating, and progressive agenda.

The Design & Oppression workshop in Intermeios event at ESDI (2020).
A Theater Forum play on the platformization and precarization of work presented by the D&O members.

Hope for a better future

The network is driven by the dream of living in a world that is free from any kind of oppression. The network weavers experience this dream coming true during events and encounters promoted by the network. These are not completely free of oppression neither is the rest of the world, however, participants replenish their hope to keep fighting for that utopian future.

Fact sheet

  • 800 Youtube subscribers + 5,000 combined views
  • 230 Newsletter subscribers
  • 20-50 weekly participants
  • 13 complicators
  • 5 conference participations


Serpa, B.O., van Amstel, F.M., Mazzarotto, M., Carvalho, R.A., Gonzatto, R.F., Batista e Silva, S., and da Silva Menezes, Y. (2022) Weaving design as a practice of freedom: Critical pedagogy in an insurgent network, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June – 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.

Saito, C., Serpa, B.O., Angelon, R., and van Amstel, F. (2022) Coming to terms with design wickedness: Reflections from a forum theatre on design thinking, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June – 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.

Van Amstel, F., Sâmia, B., Serpa, B.O., Marco, M., Carvalho, R.A.,and Gonzatto, R.F.(2021) Insurgent Design Coalitions: The history of the Design & Oppression network, in Leitão, R.M., Men, I., Noel, L-A., Lima, J., Meninato, T. (eds.), Pivot 2021: Dismantling/Reassembling, 22-23 July, Toronto, Canada.

Categories: Outreach.

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