The disruptive aesthetics of design activism: Enacting design between art and politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The aim of this paper is above all to construct a
new conceptual framework for understanding how
and why design activism in public space matters.
The paper sets off by providing a literature review
of some of the existing theoretical frameworks in
design research for understanding design activism.
In so doing, I will identify a theoretical ‘blind spot’
in the research literature, which has blocked our
view of how design activism functions as an
aesthetic practice and not only a socio-political
one. To remedy this shortcoming, I then introduce
some notions from Rancière (2004; 2010) that
enable design research to better explain the close
interrelationship between aesthetics and the
political in design activism. This will be further
demonstrated through a series of case examples
from current urban design activism. On the basis of
this, I finally offer a more meaningful framework
for the practice and study of urban design activism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Design Matter : Nordes ’11: the 4th Nordic Design Research Conference
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationAalto University, Helsinki
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventNordes 2011 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 29. May 20112. Jun 2011


ConferenceNordes 2011

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