Critical Design & Designed Activism Seminar

I’m currently putting together a series of short workshops based around my Masters’ thesis in Critical, Adversarial and Political Design. These are approaches for designing artifacts and experiences which raise questions rather than solve perceived problems. Adversarial Design, in particular, is concerned with creating spaces where antagonistic viewpoints can coexist and be redesigned for mutual benefit. I believe that these approaches can provide a way of producing more specific commentaries on our current world and will develop a participatory process for responding to our concerns.

My initial plan would be to present a casual seminar and discussion about these design approaches and how they overlap with forms of considered art and activism.

In the seminar I intend to cover:

  •   Critical & Adversarial Design: History & examples of work
  •   Exploration of why these approaches are interesting
  •   My own work in these areas
  •   Participatory Design
  •   Discussion


In the workshops I would like to explore:

  •   Generating ideas
  •   Prototyping concepts
  •   Co-Design
  •   Design thinking
  •   Future directions
  •   …and more


Agenda & Outcomes:

  •   To develop a process for generating critical responses and reactions. A means for artists and creators to quantify and focus their message
  •   To develop an environment for participatory design within A4’s exceptional knowledge base
  •   Create potential for a responsive art/design collective
  •   Share knowledge on creating ideas and concepts, and how to quickly prototype them


Anyone and everyone is suited to these approaches; all you need is an open mind and a sense of adventure. The seminar will hopefully draw some of you into the idea of exploring these processes further and will help me get an idea of how to move forward with the workshops. All are welcome and the broader the skill-base/crazy-base, the better.

All who are interested, at least in the seminar, send me an email here:


I can then send on some examples of the work that will feature in the talk and get the process moving. The talk will most likely be on a mid-week evening for about an hour. Let me know if you have any preferences and I will create an event page.

Antenna: Personalising Police Violence

Here’s another interesting prototype. Antenna by Dmitry Morozov.

A police truncheon that texts the officer’s mother every time it is used.

Simple: arduino, piezo and GSM shield.


Prototyping in SolidWorks

Rendering of my first User Centred Design product: FocusLAMP.

Rendering of my first User Centred Design product: FocusLAMP.

One of the modules I took for the second semester of my MA is a product design course based on SolidWorks software.

It’s been a beast of a learning curve and I’m still far from being fully proficient, but I am starting to reap the rewards. SolidWorks allows me to render photo-quality images, models and animations for my upcoming prototypes. This means that I can be as speculative as I want with my designs and still produce amazing renderings of what the final product will look like.

I see this process as helping greatly with my upcoming workshops. My video and paper prototypes can get their concepts across much more directly and participants will have an easier time imagining their interactions.


Researching Design Methodologies: Critical, Adversarial, etc.


Welcome to the new YANB 2015. I ran this domain as a new media art blog for one year back in 2005, and then forgot about it. Now that I’m partly through a Masters in Interactive Media at the University of Limerick, I’ve decided to resurrect the site as my design research blog.

It won’t be a straight design blog. I’m exploring areas like:

Speculative Design
Critical Design
Design Fiction
Design Futures
Radical Design
Interrogative Design
Design for Debate
Adversarial Design
Discursive Design
Political Design

So, I’m going to use this site to write about and explore any interesting design and art that I stumble across in my research. A notebook for me, and a collection for you.