Feminism. Design. Politics. Where these three intersect, you will find Futuress. As a queer intersectional feminist platform, Futuress strives to be a home for the people, histories, and perspectives that have been—and still often remain—underrepresented, oppressed, and ignored.
We stand together, a community for transnational solidarity. We view design as a social and political practice—one that shapes our lived realities. Design is in the words we speak, the objects around us, in the things we do, in the systems around us—all of which, too often, are fundamentally flawed. But design can also be a lens to critically look at the world, and unite us toward a common goal. The daunting struggles for social, spatial and environmental justice require us to come together, across our differences, as a learning community.
At Futuress, we want to reimagine the world as a classroom without walls, where learning is ubiquitous. Through this lens, in the words of Archille Mbeme, we are capable “of covening various publics in new forms of assemblies that become points of convergence [...] for the redistribution of different kinds of knowledge”. ...And just maybe, through these social and collective processes, by uniting passions across divides… we can enact change!
1. Radically democratize the access to design education and discourse.
2. Empower and amplify the voices of womxn, BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and others from historically marginalized backgrounds.
A) We facilitate online workshops, lectures and panel discussions on design research, writing, and creative storytelling. We brainstorm, support, and drive our community’s thoughts and research, honing the talent and craft through radical listening and generous feedback and critiques. This is where the magic happens! :)
B) From our educational formats, the seeds of discourse evolve into original articles, stories and essays, which are then published on our website—adhering to our guiding philosophy of making design research public. This is how we spread the Futuress word, building social value in our communities and beyond, promoting our principles and beliefs of openness and inclusion. That’s how we shake things up... stir up trouble! ;)
Futuress was originally conceived for a series of exhibitions in 2019, as a speculative project collecting design books that were “yet to be written.” Anyone could upload ideas for missing design stories onto our beta website, which would then materialize as floating books on the screen. Then, in the summer of 2020, Futuress was reimagined by Brazilian curator and design researcher Nina Paim, Swiss journalist and editor Corin Eliot Gisel, and British-German writer and editor Madeleine Morley. During uncertain and unstable times, the three came together to envision Futuress as a space for togetherness, generosity, resistance, growth, and social purpose. Futuress was officially launched in November 2020 as a hybrid between an online magazine and a community space. Since then, we have grown into a vibrant platform for design politics, with active members dispersed through five continents.
Our multiple digital channels of communication—a website, a newsletter, and various social media and communication platforms—form the foundation for us to connect. Through these, we support the next generation of designers, researchers, journalists, and activists, who, scattered throughout the globe, problematize the role of design, and challenge power and privilege.
Our website amplifies the voices of our community. We publish a wide range of stories on a weekly basis, including articles and essays produced by workshop participants, transcripted lectures, and original pieces by the Futuress team, often in collaboration with partner organizations. We also publish pieces by former workshop participants and tutors, guest lecturers, advisors, and more. At our core, Futuress is not just a platform but an ecosystem: our growing hive of learning is a community that is alive, buzzing with the power of our voices and our stories.
Our language of choice is English—a “bridging” language spoken by over two billion of the world’s population; the most potent and accessible vehicle for our voices. Futuress wants to claim this language—a tool of colonial powers past—and use it against itself.
Grants and Support
We are indebted to the generosity of our supporters and funding partners, without whom Futuress would not be possible. Thus far, Futuress has received a generous grant by Pro Helvetia as part of their “Close Distance” COVID-19 related temporary funding scheme, as well as financial support and guidance from the “What’s Next_Project” initiative of Zurich University of the Art’s Z-Kubator. Additional support in the form of mentoring was provided by the Swiss Cultural Challenge (SCC).
Futuress is currently operated by the Swiss non-profit common-interest.
Concept and design: Futuress
Design of Futuress logo and initial visual identity: Ann Kern
Typefaces: Osram by Selina Bernet, Actual by Fabiola Mejía, Nikolaiby Franziska Weitgruber
Website design: Corin Eliot Gisel
Website development: Morgan Brown