Who: depatriarchise design is a platform co-run by Anja Neidhardt and Maya Ober that examines the complicity of design in the reproduction of oppressive systems, focusing predominantly on patriarchy, using intersectional feminist analysis.
When: Anja Neidhardt is a Berlin-based design researcher, writer, curator and educator. In addition to being a member of the editorial team of the German magazine ROM, she writes for various international design publications and teaches design history and theory at the Academy of Visual Arts in Frankfurt/Main. In 2016 she graduated with an MA in design curating and writing from Design Academy Eindhoven. From 2012 until 2014 she was a member of the editorial team of the design magazine form.
Maya Ober is a Basel-based designer, researcher, educator and writer working across different disciplines and holds a B.Des. from the Industrial Design Department of the Holon Institute of Technology. Maya works as a research associate at the Institute of Industrial Design and lecturer at the Institute of Aesthetic Practice at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel and as an external academic tutor at the Master Degree Programme in Visual Communication at Konstfack in Stockholm. At the FHNW, Basel, together with Laura Pregger, she co-initiated the teaching programme Imagining Otherwise that aims at expanding the discourse about intersectionality within design, both practice and theory, focussing on voices, practices and learning modes that have not been present enough or at all within the curricula, trying to explore the ways in which we could depatriachise, decolonise and deprecarise the design education.
Where: depatriarchise design works across different mediation formats: workshops, labs, talks, publications and a weblog. The platform has moderated public events at Frauen_bibliothek, Basel, the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany, Plan D, Zagreb, Croatia, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany and HKB / MA Design, Bern.
What: The platform was initiated in 2017 as an online blog, trying to expand the discourse about what we call design patriarchy, the active involvement of design in the reinforcement of patriarchal structures. The impulse to create this platform was the Milan Design Week and the systematic marginalisation and exclusion of female practitioners from the design field and a very white-male-euro-centric normative understanding of what design is, and who is a designer. Since then, depatriarchise design has expanded to a non-profit research-led platform working across different mediation formats.
In 2018, the "depatriarchise design" got invited as part of Building Platforms in in the frame of the Swiss Design Network conference “Beyond Change: Questioning design in times of global transformation” in the foyer of FHNW in Basel. During the event, depatriarchise design moderated three workshops: “deconstructing design education” and “deconstructing design innovation”. A third workshop was run together with two further reflection platforms, Decolonising Design and Precarity Pilot.
At HKB / MA Design, Bern, depatriarchise design organised a workshop on writing, considering the absence of the practice from the classical design curricula. depatriarchise design sees writing as a critical and empowering tool to describe relationships that might otherwise stay unformulated: “We argue that writing purposely does not form an integral part of design curricula, as it fosters criticality and by doing so challenges the oppressive discourse of design’s neutrality and universality. But what happens when designers start writing?”
Why: depatriarchise design questions the shape and the very definition of design as a discipline, as well as its priorities, politics and agendas.