How can systems be more inclusive to those conventionally excluded by the patriarchy? 

Feminist Futuring

Classroom Project
B.Des 2017
Exhibition Design

geethika’s portfolio︎︎︎
ritika’s portfolio︎︎︎

This project examined how utopianism can be used to speculate ways in which cities and human settlements can be inclusive to those conventionally excluded by patriarchal systems. Our primary inquiry was to explore the ways in which prejudice manifests spatially. Owing to our female gender identity, we have always felt examined, surveilled and unsafe while engaged in harmless activities in public spaces. This experience of being "othered" and alienated made us feel resentful, and the injustice was difficult to ignore. Our goal was to evolve into Feminist Designers and understand Intersectionality, and turn our cynical view of the present into hopeful visions for the future, and aspire to depatriarchise ourselves.

Feminism, our prism to view the world, became the means to achieve a goal, and the goal itself. We had been wary of using the "f" word (Feminism) when branding our work and sharing it with the world. Terms like inclusivity and diversity worked against our motive by toning the discourse down. Calling the process an act of Feminist Futuring attracted a crowd that was invested in the agenda, and made the resulting outcomes rich and enlivening.

We circulated a privilege mapping survey that served as an introspection tool for respondents to understand how systems are built around privilege and oppression. We, surprisingly, received many evocative responses that were descriptive and personal.

We also conducted Feminist Futuring workshops that discussed subjectivities of utopianism and dystopianism, developed co-created manifestos to prefigure these futures, and materialised these visions through maps, doodles, collages, and prose. While situated in dreamlike depictions, these speculations drew directly from the political and social anxieties of the present.

The workshops could become a recurring event that serves as a safe space for those who resent the patriarchy and wish to hold dialogue on the same, and publish these speculations as a zine. The privilege mapping tool can be used to support studies, surveys and diversity programs, and further developed as an auditing tool for institutions and organisations.

In order to become feminist designers in a context as diverse as India, we consider it important to critically scrutinise ourselves and the world. Our scholastic work so far has been feminist and critical, which in retrospect, is a product of our privileges. Having a firmer understanding of our privileges helps us be aware of the social implications of our work and the ways in which it can be intersectional.


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The Site Magazine - Founding the Feminist Utopia, Léone Drapeaud

A thrice told tale - Margery Wolf

Why Loiter - Shilpa Phadke

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