Mapping Hybrid Design Participation in Sydney

Arte Polis
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Reflections on Creativity: Public engagement and the making of place, 2014, pp. 123 - 131
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As in the city of Bandung, the making of place in Sydney (Australia) is now considered by policymakers to be inseparable from creative industries such as design and architecture. This paper focuses on one particular category of creative practitioners: designers, in particular those designers who don't accept and contribute to the same broad vision of the city's creative future. Sydney is a competitive city with one of the highest costs of living in the world (Williams, 2013). This, coupled with precarity as dominant form of work typology in the creative industries, has driven many designers in Sydney to work collaboratively to contest their role in urban development and, more broadly, the creative economy. This paper presents work from a project called 'Citizen Design, Open Design, Adversarial Design: Emerging Forms of Engaged Design Practice in Australia.' The paper examines a component of our methodology. Namely we conducted a 'mapping lab' involving Sydney designers engaged in activism. We mapped the relationships that designers recognised between groups, practices, and projects (past and present) in Sydney that could be considered emerging forms of engaged design. While we as researchers began with a framework for 'Citizen Design' as a form of 'citizen media' (Rodriguez, 2010), 'Open Design' (Van Abel, Evers, Klaasen and Troxler, 2011), and 'Adversarial Design' (Di Salvo, 2012), the participants developed their own set of categories which reflected their working conditions, the nature of their interventions, and political sensibilities of the world.
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