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Design Justice - Literature Notes

Last updated Aug 15, 2023

See Sources/Design Justice - Book #literaturenotes

# Reboot Summary

Cards/Design justice is all about redesigning systems for those normally marginalized by design. This is done through collaborative & creative practices.

Design justice also focuses on the ==design of systems==

Design justice rethinks design processes, centers people who are normally marginalized by design, and uses collaborative, creative practices to address the deepest challenges our communities face.

# Design Education

Cards/Education lives within a system of domination and liberation

==Education lives within a system of domination and liberation==; each participant should think, question, and act to identify the causes of the problems within that system.

Cards/The goal of education is transformation

  • Freire writes, “the goal of education is to ==transform== oppressed individuals into subjects who engage in collective action to transform their conditions of oppression.”

# On Learning and Building


quote about constructionism: “Learning is a ==reconstruction==, rather than a transmission of knowledge.”

although it is beautiful to think about how nothing is truly done, learnt or built alone, ==we must always consider who and what we are (re)constructing with. ==

If learning is a reconstruction of knowledge, then ==everything we learn reflects the learnings of the people we’re told to listen to== unless we choose to do otherwise.

By seeking out diverse voices and learning together, we can build ==shared consciousness== and better understand the world and the predicaments that plague us.

# Book

# Chapter 5

Cards/The goal of education is transformation Cards/Critical pedagogy

“Critical pedagogy seeks to ==transform consciousness==, to provide students with ways of knowing that enable them to know themselves better and live in the world more fully. —bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress”

“he encourages critical pedagogy, where the ==role of the educator== is to pose problems, create spaces for the collective development of critical consciousness, help to develop plans for action to make the world a better place, and develop a sense of agency among learners.”

“the goal of education is to transform oppressed individuals into subjects who engage in collective action to transform their conditions of oppression.”

“==critical community technology pedagogy==, an approach that “demystifies systemic power inequalities, involves a multi-directional learning process, results in transferable skills, and constructs a new world as it constructs knowledge.”

Cards/Popular education

“pedagogies of design justice must be based firmly upon the broader approach known as popular education (educación popular, in Spanish), or pop ed, as it is often called by practitioners in the United States.”

Key Principles of Pop Ed:

  1. Education is never neutral
  2. Relevance
  3. Problem-posing
  4. Dialogue
  5. Praxis
  6. Transformation

Cards/Banking model of education

“banking model of education, in which an educator, positioned as the expert, attempts to ==deposit knowledge== in the mind of their students.”

Cards/Praxis is a Greek term that originally meant “practical knowledge for action”. Educator Paulo Freire defines it as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.”

“Freire focuses on developing critical thought together with action, in a cycle he refers to as praxis, a Greek term originally referring to ==“practical knowledge for action.”==7 Freire defines it as ==“reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.”==

Cards/Technology must be used as a tool of liberation

“Instead of being used as a tool to divide and conquer, we believe technology must be taken back by the people and used as a tool of liberation.”


“constructionism. Although not explicit about race, class, gender, or disability politics, this is a pedagogical approach that ==centers context, situated knowledge, and learning by doing.==”

“for Piaget, learning is ==experiential==: it takes place through an active process where the learner develops the ability to modify or transform an object or idea.”

“constructionism’s two central concepts: first, that ==learning is a reconstruction==, rather than a transmission, of knowledge; second, that “learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as ==constructing a meaningful product.==”

“Resnick summarizes the core of constructionism in the following two principles: first, ==“people do not get ideas, they make them.”== Second, ==“people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.”==

Cards/Problem-based learning Cards/Teachers are facilitators

“teachers act as facilitators to help students achieve their own learning goals using problem-based learning.”

“Problem-based learning works best when problems are part of larger, ideally real-world tasks; learners are supported to take ownership of the problem; the task is appropriate to the learner’s level of understanding and ability; the learner must reflect on what is being learned and how they learned it; and the educator encourages the learner to test their ideas in various contexts.”

Cards/Technological fluency

“We need to expand the notion of ‘digital fluency’ to include ==designing and creating==, not just browsing and interacting.”

“technological fluency, or young people’s ability to fully incorporate computers and digital technology into their ==own creative practices.==”

Cards/Decolonizing design

“Decolonizing design involves decentering Western approaches to design pedagogy, while centering design approaches, histories, theories, and practices rooted in indigenous communities.”

Cards/Design is the foundation of the artificial world

“design is no less than the conception and planning of the artificial world. Its products include ==objects, processes, systems, and environments==; in short, everything.”

Cards/Educators are embodied subjects

“Educators, hooks argues, must recognize ourselves as ==embodied subjects in the classroom==, rather than pretend that we speak from a disembodied place.”

Cards/Design Justice Network Principles

  1. “We Use Design to Sustain, Heal, and Empower Our Communities, as Well as to Seek Liberation from Exploitative and Oppressive Systems”
  2. “We Center the Voices of Those Who Are Directly Impacted by the Outcomes of the Design Process”
  3. “We Prioritize Design’s Impact on the Community Over the Intentions of the Designer”
  4. “We View Change as Emergent from an Accountable, Accessible, and Collaborative Process, Rather than as a Point at the End of a Process”
  5. “We See the Role of the Designer as a Facilitator Rather than an Expert”
  6. “We Believe that Everyone Is an Expert Based on Their Own Lived Experience and that We All Have Unique and Brilliant Contributions to Bring to a Design Process”
  7. “We Share Design Knowledge and Tools with Our Communities”
  8. “We Work toward Sustainable, Community-Led, and Controlled Outcomes”
  9. “We Work toward Nonexploitative Solutions that Reconnect Us to the Earth and to Each Other”
  10. “Before Seeking New Design Solutions, We Look for What Is Already Working at the Community Level, and We Honor and Uplift Traditional, Indigenous, and Local Knowledge and Practices”

Cards/Digital learning exacerbates and reproduces inequality

“At the same time, as sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom documents in her book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy, for-profit universities that promise to teach coding skills and secure jobs for their graduates proliferate both on and offline.93 Many of the most visible for-profit coding schools and boot camps are ==expensive, inaccessible, and have dubious placement outcomes.==94”

“digital learning among young people remains ==structured== by race, class, and gender.”

“In a recent study of digital learning, education researchers Mimi Ito and Justin Reich find that, in many cases, digital learning technologies such as MOOCs and online courses, in-school computing classes, and other interventions ==actually exacerbate inequalities in learning outcomes== between low-income and wealthier students, between students of color and white students, and between male and female students. In addition, they note that the use of digital technology in education often ==unintentionally reproduces inequality==, in large part due to “institutionalized and unconscious bias and social distance between developers and those they seek to serve.”

Cards/The object of true education is to make people

“I insist that the object of all true education is not to make people carpenters, it is to make carpenters people. —W. E. B. Du Bois, The Talented Tenth”

“Is the ultimate object to make people good coders, or to make coders good people?”

Cards/Critical thinking and skill development are not mutually exclusive

“learning to code is increasingly taught in ways that emphasize diversity, creativity, and critical thinking.”

“design pedagogies that promote critical thinking are not incompatible with the development of practical design skills.”