Imagining a better world

December 17, 2020

One of my favorite things about human beings is our ability to imagine new worlds. In some ways, I’ve talked about this before. It’s that ability to see a new way of doing something that, quite literally, keeps us going.

In January, Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. We all know the repercussions this has had on the way we live, work, connect, travel and even vote.

In May, the murder of George Floyd ignited worldwide protests against racial injustice, with many people evaluating their own roles in oppressive systems and particularly, the role of the police.

It might be trivial to try and learn something from what has been a difficult, “unprecedented” and unpredictable time, but, if this year has taught me anything, it’s our collective ability to imagine new worlds.

Over and over we’ve reflected on the way things are, closely comparing it to the way we wish they might be. We’ve used our imagination, and from that, we’ve gained hope.

So, to end the year I leave you with this. An ode to the future, to our ability to imagine new ones, and the ways we already do this, together.


Mapping and Amplifying Decolonised Design Futures

In this complex ‘modern’ world – how might groups understand their pasts and presents as gathering futures that fuse humans with things?

In this talk, Tristan Schultz, a interdisciplinary designer, strategist and a member of the decolonising design network explores the use of mapping to progress the decolonisation of design, answering questions while imagining new futures.

Designing Maori Futures

When you’re trying to shift mindsets, when you’re trying to disrupt, it can be a hell of a process, and you’ve just got to stick in there.

As part of a series exploring New Zealand’s post-Covid design practice, in this piece we learn about the ways that tangata whenua are drawing upon their ancestral knowledge and adapting the learnings to move cultural issues forward in a modern context. It’s fascinating to think about the future through the context of the past…

Arturo Escobar’s 'Designs for the Pluriverse'

We design the world and the world designs us back.

I hope you’re looking forward to at least a couple of days off this December, which often for me looks like reading, reading and more reading. Arturo Escobar’s Designs for the Pluriverse feels a perfect way to end this year. In this book, Arturo explores design’s role in creating the many world crises we face now, and how we might imagine new worlds (plural) as we move forward.


As Zora Neale Hurston said:

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.

This was originally published on my newsletter, Design With. It was archived in 2023.