Where feminism, design, and politics meet
Futuress is a hybrid between a learning community and a publishing platform. Our mission is to radically democratize design education and amplify marginalized voices. Through various free public programs, we problematize the role of design and foster critical thinking. Our work is literally for the future: we bring people together and support our community to craft their own narratives. One story inspires; many stories can ignite a movement!
At Futuress, we view design as a social and political practice—one that profoundly shapes our everyday lived realities. Design is in the words we speak, the objects we use, the things we do, the systems around us—all of which, too often, are fundamentally flawed. Our world is unjust and unequal, and design is deeply complicit in this. Design is never neutral—it is always political. It can either suppress and oppress or—our vision—be a tool for collective resistance and liberation.
A Learning Community
Inspired by radical feminist pedagogies, Futuress develops formats committed to decolonizing and depatriarchalizing design education. Colonialism’s dark past lingers in today’s culture, art, and design. Similarly, the invisible hand of patriarchy continuously shapes the world we know, often in ways we take for granted. We need to critically examine these forces that continue to influence the reference texts that frame the way we learn, and even the methods by which we teach. At the same time, we need to imagine design education otherwise. Our learning offerings are free and accessible to all, including online lectures, panel discussions, open-mics, roundtables, and more. Our Futuress learning space is for you, so feel free to suggest ideas via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Publishing Platform
We publish new and original stories every week, the majority of which are crafted through our online fellowships. Together with our community, we’ve explored the dark side of pictograms, voice assistants, confederate statues, hi-vis garments, matchbox houses, and much more. We’ve examined buzzwords like “sustainability” and “care,” exposed abuse and discrimination in design education, followed feminists in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Zürich, challenged biased technology, made and unmade the environment, and even found resistance in dreaming! We are currently working on texts produced by our latest fellowship, Coding Resistance, but we also accept pitches on a rolling basis. If you have an idea for an article, please drop us a line at email@example.com.
For now, our language of choice is English—a “bridging” language spoken by over two billion of the world’s population. As a transnational platform, we are particularly attuned to the power and politics of translation, and we seek partnerships with local publishers to bring radical and urgent indigenous thinkers to a broader public.
Futuress was originally imagined in 2019, as a library for design books that were “yet to be written.” Anyone was able to upload ideas for “missing” design stories onto our website, which materialized as floating books on the screen. Soon, the question arose: instead of remaining speculative, how could Futuress elevate the voices that are most “missing” in design? In a time of crisis for digital publishing, we dove into the histories of feminist publishing, but there seemed to be no sustainable model in sight.
Meanwhile, depatriarchise design, which had begun in 2017, quickly grew into a manifold activist practice involving workshops, lectures, short films, and more. In 2019, the activist platform launched depatriarchise design Labs!, a series of free workshops igniting urgent discussions around design pedagogy, politics of display, technology and more. With the onset of the COVID pandemic, the format moved to online, and people from all over the world were now able to participate.
The sister platforms Futuress and depatriarchise design shared a similar call-to-action to rally against the seemingly apolitical, but profoundly problematic design discipline. After years of collaboration, in October 2021 Futuress and depatriachise design joined forces to connect and amplify intersecting communities. Since then, we have grown into a lively platform with over 500 active members spread across the five continents.
How we are funded?
Futuress is run by non-profit association depatriarchise design, based in Basel, Switzerland (PersID1032046). We are funded by donations, cultural grants, and collaborations with educational and cultural institutions. We strive to be transparent about our finances, and we release a public record of accounts at the end of every fiscal year, starting in 2022. All of our content is paywall free, which is made possible through the financial support of these institutions to which we are tremendously indebted:
Culture Department Kanton Basel-Stadt
PLAKA Criatório Porto
We are immensely thankful to all partner organizations with which we’ve collaborated:
A—Z Presents, Berlin
BIO 26 Biennial of Design, Ljubljana
centre culturel suisse, Paris
Education and Integration Global Forum (EDI), Naples
FHNW Academy of Arts and Design, Basel
Le Signe, Chaumont
Piseagrama, Belo Horizonte
Platform P, Seoul
Porto Design Biennial