Engaged Courses: Critical Making Designs Protest Object

03 Feb, 2017

Engaged Courses: Critical Making Designs Protest Object

At a time when many of our students are navigating how to engage in effective activism, and Berkeley itself has been in the news over protests, Eric Paulos challenged his Critical Making class (NWMEDIA 203), to create and present a novel protest object.

Critical Making operationalizes and critiques the practice of “making” through both foundational literature and hands on studio culture. With design research as a lens, students will envision and create future computational experiences that critically explore social and culturally relevant technological themes such as community, privacy, environment, education, economics, energy, food, biology, democracy, activism, healthcare, social justice, etc.

From the assignment:
"Equity, poverty, human rights, civil rights, racial inequality, gender inequality, lack of transparency, “alternate facts”, economic divide, immigrant rights, voters rights – now more than ever is the time to protest – to make a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something. As humanists, scientists, students, and community members let us deliver a message. As designers let us rethink, reinterpret, and empower the medium of the protest. Protests come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, they vary widely in their scale, longevity, location, context, and medium of delivery. Protests often have a range of elements from signage, to chats, to logos, songs, hashtags, iconography. As designers, you will need to think carefully about all of these elements in designing a protest that is successful. In fact, even success takes many forms – from overturning a law, electing an official, or creating a neighborhood crosswalk. Protests can engage many different senses – sounds, visual design, interactive elements, clothing, tweets, and slogans. As designers, you must think carefully about all of these opportunities."

We're looking forward to seeing the results at this year's Jacobs Design Showcase in May!