Author Archives: Ann Thorpe

My recent open design experience

Recently I attended a workshop hosted by the London group “Technology will Save Us” (I’ll call them TWSU to save some words). I also saw the exhibit Adhocracy on view in London’s Lime Wharf, featuring a bunch of interesting ideas for open design, distributed manufacturing, and digital fabrication technologies. The range of ideas in theContinue Reading

short articles about design, activism, & consumerism

Some of you might be aware that I went on a virtual book tour in the autumn and posted a number of short articles on host websites. I had some terrific hosts and the articles are still there–thought some of these might be handy for teaching or a quick look at some of the issues:Continue Reading

Split personality: news from the Simplicity Institute

We’ve all faced the dilemma of trying to improve what we do, while being trapped inside infrastructure that makes doing the right thing really difficult. A small example–the cafe gives me a disposable cup, even if I’m not getting my coffee to go. Like many of us struggling with this dilemma, the Simplicity Institute showedContinue Reading

Virtual Book Tour Underway

It’s been an interesting experience working with a number of different blogs to get the guest posts out for the virtual book tour. So far there are 3 tour stops active with 4 more to come. Each stop has original content so you can really get a flavor for the book’s contents. ran twoContinue Reading

A new beginning for the DesignActivism blog

Hey my new book is out in the UK now and coming out in the US in September! For the occasion I’ve converted this blog into a blog on Design, Consumerism and Activism. Both and point here. I plan to cover the same range of issues here as I’ve been looking atContinue Reading

extractive design: takes a lot, gives very little

Over at the Harvard Business Review, Umair Haque has written about “titanic institutional failure” — how institutions not only fail to provide value but actively extract it from us, extractive institutions. (His article is “The Economic Roots of Your Life Crisis”). And it got me thinking about the idea of extractive design. Although we mightContinue Reading

an array of jobs

In the past few days I’ve tweeted (@atlasann) about seven interesting jobs that all seem to have a component of activism and would suit a designer. Here’s a recap: Social Innovation Exchange job, “Senior Research Associate: Social Innovation” find out more before deadline 31Jan2012 AND RT @thinkpublic :looking for a Curiosity Tickler to beContinue Reading

timeline for design activism — what would you add?

I’ve been preparing a text on design activism and in particular, what can be learned from social movements. Part of the text is a timeline for “cause-oriented” design, which I include here in order to get input from readers about what is missing or debated. Please comment!  links and references  will come later (sorry, noContinue Reading

An event and a short paper on defining design activism

There are a couple of items here, an event and a paper. I’m chairing the upcoming event next week, Weds. 25th May. The talk is part of the “Scarcity Exchanges”  program of the research project, Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment. This session speculates on design and consumerism, looking particularly at available material andContinue Reading

time and scale: local now versus global 10,000 years

Recently two examples of design activism came up on my radar at nearly the same time, and they were of such different scope and scale that I wanted to mention them. The first case is a small project that drew attention to leaking pipes and the resulting “scum river” on the sidewalk in a neighbourhoodContinue Reading