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Everyday Acts of Design Summary

Everyday Acts of Design: Learning in a Time of Emergency by Zoy Anastassakis (Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil)

From 2016-2018, teachers and students at the State University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil found themselves at the center of a crisis. A new right-wing government suspended payment of staff salaries and student scholarships and stopped funding basic maintenance. Everyday Acts of Design tells the story of how the university's design school reacted to the crisis: not with despondency or despair, but by promoting a series of radical teaching experiments. Working together, students, alumni, teachers, and staff embraced hope as a method, demonstrating that it is possible to find positive answers even in a situation of imminent collapse. The case histories narrated in the book provide alternatives to conventional forms of design teaching, but also prove that education can be a site for democracy and the practice of freedom. Deprived of the activity of creating for an imagined future, design can still assert a way forward through practices of making and experimenting. Drawing on their personal experience of designing and teaching design at a time of crisis, the authors assert the value of a design attitude which, in refusing to be delimited by the forethought of designing, insists on a radical, experimental practice as a means of survival. Although a multitude of voices, both assenting and dissenting, are present in the text, the authors do not hide their own position, making it clear that their stories are not a balanced mosaic of polyphonic positions. The contemporary attack on free public education, fueled by the growth of far-right regimes all over the globe, relies on a totalizing univocal conception of 'truth' as a means to shut down a plurality of thinking. Against this, this book adopts the partiality of historical and cultural truths as an urgent and explicit counter-attack. Adopting a consciously international approach,the authors connect and compare their own story with those of similar design teaching movements in the Global South, such as the Barefoot School in India, and ZIVA, founded by Saki Mafunkikwa in Zimbabwe.

Everyday Acts of Design Reviews

Zoy Anastassakis and Marcos Martins take us on a personal journey through the challenges of leadership, management and teaching in a design school during times of uncertainty, precariousness and government neglect in Brazil. Weaving together stories of everyday experiences demonstrating at once alternative ways of thinking design acts, the resilience of educators and students, and the bonds that are developed when a situation and a state is on the brink of collapse, this book is an urgent read for all design students and educators. -- Dana Abdullah, University of the Arts London, UK
In this account of a present intensively lived, Anastassakis and Martins reveal the individual struggles and collective actions of ESDI's prodigious community of precarious lives. Reimagining the first and foremost design education institution in Brazil, Latin America and the Portuguese language demanded shuffling functions, challenging privileges and questioning conventions. But also claiming resistance, vulnerability, care, interdependence, coexistence and solidarity as essential terms of a design lexicon they generously share with us in this momentous book. -- Frederico Duarte, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Hope is perhaps the element to be harnessed in a time that insists on oppressing and in which different ways of doing things are designed to circumvent the investments of domination. In these margins, scribbling is the act of imprinting life, whether it be to inscribe battles and continuity, or to strike through the logics that paint a world obsessed with a single, exclusive method. Education, when it becomes an inventive and radical stroke of life, affirms itself as an ordinary task, as everyday acts that give other contours to the margins. -- Luiz Rufino, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil

About Zoy Anastassakis (Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil)

Zoy Anastassakis is a designer and anthropologist. She is Associate Professor at Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial (ESDI) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she coordinates the research group Laboratorio de Design e Antropologia (Design and Anthropology Laboratory), and was Director from 2016 to 2018. In 2018, she was invited as a guest researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Since 2019, she has been an associate researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA) in Lisbon, Portugal. Marcos Martins is a designer and Associate Professor at Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial (ESDI) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he was Deputy Director from 2016 to 2018. His work as a designer ranges across several fields, and his research seeks to open design to intersections with other domains such as art, film, philosophy, psychoanalysis and education. Since his post-doctoral research at Princeton University, USA in 2018, he investigates social media interfaces through a historical and critical perspective.

Table of Contents

List of Figures Foreword, Timothy Ingold (University of Aberdeen, UK) Acknowledgements Historical Background Map and ESDI Ground Plan Introduction 1. Landing 2. Curriculum 3. A Land-slipping panic 4. Drawing Together 5. Crisis 6. Design Research 7. Impasses and Correspondences 8. How do you get to the university? 9. Walking barefoot Bibliography Index

Additional information

Everyday Acts of Design: Learning in a Time of Emergency by Zoy Anastassakis (Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil)
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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