Fall 2018
Imagining America National Gathering
Radical Design for Speculative Futures
“Non-judgemental Space Making Device” made by participants

Radical Design workshops

Radical Design workshops get participants thinking about how the designed things, processes and systems around us might be different if we prioritized different values. They encourage participants to think about implications – both positive and negative – that may come from different priorities.

Each event is focused on a specific system: policing, voting, capitalism, etc. We begin by listing the values participants see prioritized by the current system. For example, Commonbound participants discussed how Capitalism priortizes efficiency, growth, and profit. Next, participants split into small groups of 2-3 people and choose a value that is de-prioritized by the current system. If a current value of policing is punishment, a group might choose to center their thinking on problem solving or transformation. They would then work to imagine a system that achieves public safety (the promise of policing) by prioritizing transformation instead of punishment.

A series of excercises guides groups along the way, asking them to reflect on the value itself, imagine multiple ways a world that prioritizes this value would be different from our own, and then writing and drawing about experiences related to (e.g.) public safety within that world.

At the end of the workshop, participants make an artefact that would exist within the world they’ve imagined. They’re encouraged to build at 1:1 scale and to share how it would be used with the group. This exercise builds on The Extrapolation Factory’s 99 cent futures workshops that guides participants in making products that would exist in 99 cent shops and dollar stores of the future.

  • Imagining America (Chicago, October 2018)
  • Creative Reaction Lab (St. Louis, June 2018)
  • Commonbound Conference, New Economy Coalition (St. Louis, June 2018)
  • Washington University AIGA (St. Louis, April 2017)
  • and as a part of other Washington University courses such as Designing Creativity and Design & Research

If you would like to host a Radical Design workshop or project with your group or organization, please email designradicalfutures@gmail.com.

Spring 2019
Radical Design: Making Civic Experiences at Washington University in St. Louis
First class, Radical Design workshop
Rachel Roberts & Mimi Shang

Photo by Kurt Hutchinson. 

Video by @doitbetterdesign. 

Summer 2018
Commonbound Conference, New Economy Coalition
Radical Design for Speculative Futures

Summer 2018
Design to Better [Our Community] Summer Academy, Creative Reaction Lab
Radical Design