Designing Radical Futures:


a design research practice about imagining and building within alternative social structures.




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Join the mailing list at this link for (very) occasional updates and get in touch at designradicalfutures@gmail.com





Hi! I’m Alix.


I am interested in how designers can work outside of capitalist and punitive systems to  collaboratively build liberatory futures. This is currently a part of my work as a Post-graduate Fellow in Interdisciplinary Design Practices at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. My practice builds on work done as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, as a graduate student in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons, and as a researcher working with human-centered design since 2010. 



Currently investigating:

How have activists created liberatory infrastructures outside the status quo? (e.g. processes, norms, tools and technologies that enable mutual aid, transformative justice, solidarity economies, etc.)

How do activists make choices about operational issues while focusing on enacting defined values and visions? How is this different from a ‘designerly’ approach to the same challenge?

Can a participatory design approach be useful within these alternative structures? How can designers unlearn and release attachments related to industrialization and development in order to participate in communal self-determination?


 

– EDUCATION –

MFA Transdisciplinary Design. The New School, Parsons School of Design, 2016.

BS Design and Environmental Analysis. Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, 2011.


– TEACHING –

Post-graduate Fellow in Interdisciplinary Design Practices
Smith College, 2022-present

Part-time Faculty
The New School, Parsons School of Design, 2019-2020

Louis D. Beaumont Visiting Assistant Professor
Washington University in St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, 2017-2019


– PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE –

Design Strategist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 2016, 2019-2022

Researcher
IA Collaborative, 2012-2014


– PUBLICATIONS –

“Designing inside and alongside the system: Working with residents of Ferguson, Missouri on police reform”, DRS2022, Bilbao, June-July 2022

“Prefigurative Politics and Design”, Pivot 2021, Toronto, Ontario, July 2021

“Participatory Speculation: Futures of Public Safety”, Participatory Design Conference, Hasselt, Belgium, August 2018

“Radical Futures: Designing for Fundamental Change”, Touchpoint, the Journal of Service Design, October 2018



– WORKSHOPS, PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS & LECTURES –

“Designing for Self-Determination: Making Futures Without Policing” with Christine Hegel [workshop] Participatory Design Conference, Manizales, Colombia /virtual, June 2020

“Speculative Design + Designing for Justice + Design Research with Alix Gerber” [podcast] Hosted by Dawan Stanford, Design Thinking 101, June 2019

“Designing Radical Futures” [presentation & panel discussion] Dwelling in the Future: Imagining Tomorrow's City, Museum of the City of New York, New York, June 2019

“Design, Research & Synthesis” [presentation and workshop] Colorado State University, Fort Collins, November 2018

“Radical Design for Speculative Futures” [workshop] Imagining America, Chicago, October 2018

“Participatory Speculation: Futures of Public Safety”, [presentation] Participatory Design Conference, Hasselt, Belgium, August 2018

“Radical Design” [workshop] Creative Reaction Lab, St. Louis, June 2018

“Radical Design for Speculative Futures” [workshop] Commonbound conference, New Economy Coalition, St. Louis, June 2018

“How to Talk to People: Facilitating for Design” with Annemarie Spitz and Liz Kramer [presentation and workshop] Design Futures, Public Interest Design Student Leadership Forum, Detroit, May 2018

“Participatory Speculation” [presentation] Louis D. Beaumont lecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University, St. Louis, November 2017

“Futures of Public Safety” [workshop] Center for Social Empowerment, Ferguson, November 2017

“Designing Political Alternatives” [workshop] Washington University AIGA, St. Louis, April 2017

“Listening & Framing: Designing Civic Experiences” [presentation] Louis D. Beaumont lecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University, St. Louis, March 2017

“Elasticity in Public Services” with Kit Lykketoft and Hefen Wong [workshop] Verge NYC, Parsons School of Desgin, New York, February 2016

“Design Research Techniques” [short course] School of Design Strategies Bootcamp, Parsons School of Design, New York, August 2015