Design and Resistance

15-16 May 2014
Venue: Yaşar University
Keynote Speaker: Guy Julier

The protest movements that have recently broken out in different regions of the world including the Arab Spring, the occupy movements and the recent Gezi protests in Istanbul have brought onto the agenda the potential of creative resistance. Particularly the advent of digital technologies has enabled rapid production and widespread distribution possibilities. As such these demonstrations have proceeded with their own peculiar visual culture, icons and symbols. Protests which were set off by strong economic and political concerns were marked by the creative use of artifacts, images and spaces. The most pertinent aspects in terms of design studies were the elements of humor, play and creativity that prevailed during the struggles.

In this sense, we had a striking encounter with the dissident face of design apart from its conventional conception as a marketing and styling tool. This creates an opportunity to discuss design’s relationship with the cultivation, organization and expression of social dissent. An examination of the role of design in political outcries requires questioning both established boundaries of design discipline and practice and conventional conceptions of political struggle. Questions regarding the issue include examining the representative and/or constitutive roles of design practices, the ways design addresses and transforms power relations within a given society/social order and the transformations that design thinking and practice undergo during periods of strong social dissent.

Some of the issues contributors are invited to address are as follows:

Resistance with design
The role of design in representing dissent
Visual languages and styles of resistance
The subversive role of design in given power relations
Designer as a political identity

Resistance in design
Dialogues between conflicting design approaches
Power relations in design praxis
Critiques of mainstream design approaches

Resistance to design
Anti-design approaches
Users’ responses to/negotiations with design
Re-appropriating design


Organizing Committee

Bahar Emgin, Tevfik Balcıoğlu,  Gülsüm Baydar