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Insurgent design coalitions: the history of the Design & Oppression network

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.

Design research is getting interested in social movements in recent years. Organization tactics like coalition-building have been taken from civil rights movements and turned into operative concepts such as designing coalitions that point towards converging interests. As such, this concept cannot support social movements, which are not formed by common interests, but by pressing social needs ignored in official and everyday politics. This essay provides a revision of the designing coalition concept based on the description of the formation of the Design & Oppression Network in Brazil. This network was formed in 2020 by design professors, students, and professionals from all over Brazil, as well as from other countries. From its inception, the network was concerned with the Latin-American reality — colonized, culturally-invaded, underdeveloped, and oppressed in various ways by the Global North. The network approaches design as a pedagogical and critical process, so the design space becomes a space for listening, reflection, dispute, and synthesis: a controversial design space.

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