CN09 - A feminine approach to design

Conveners: Kate McEntee, Jon Günther Andersen, & Isabella Brandalise

This is a conversation about recognition and understanding of the feminine in design, through practices of listening, storytelling and letter writing. The outcome will be a series of fragmentary insights into an idea of feminine design practices. 

Feminine design is an invitation to explore qualities, or moments, that infiltrate uniform structures and discourses in the design field. These moments often fall into conflict with modern values such as purpose, determination, universalism, Fordism, concentration and permanence (Harvey, 1996). Designers working in spaces of social innovation, civic laboratories, political discourse and academia are passively and overtly forced to shape their work processes and outputs to fit into structured, and often detrimental, requirements for outputs and measurement (Abdulla et. al. 2016; Akama and Yee, 2016; Willis, 2017). Rather than using the term feminine design to create a dualistic paradigm between masculine and feminine, we are interested in using feminine design to explore new opportunities and celebrate a plurality of practices for contemporary design. 

“Feminine means here: wandering, discontinuous, uneven, intensely exposing a lot of raw feeling. It also means: addressing eternally to an interlocutor, always speaking to someone, as in an immense letter.” (Ana Cristina César, 2016). These evolving qualities of feminine design include: nuanced; performative; not solution-oriented; invisible; uncertain; slippery; temporary; embodied; situated; incomplete; and reflexive.

Click here for full Conversation details.