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The Building Platforms Directory is an open and growing compilation of initiatives that seek to expose the social, political, and environmental impact of design, revealing its complicity in creating, perpetuating, or intensifying problems, with the ultimate aim of formulating new strategies to overcome these challenges. While provisionally presented as a Google spreadsheet connected to a Google map, the intention is for it to grow into an easily accessible online tool for getting connected and sharing information, about where such initiatives operate and the resources available to them.

The directory indexes different forms of organisations — including NGOs, foundations, associations and societies, online platforms, networks, blogs, educational institutions, studios and individuals — whose practices are focusing on the environment, economic and labour issues, gender equality, racial and ethnic equality, colonialism, migration, urbanism, education, security and other. The initiatives so far listed were gathered through an open call, research, and through tips from peers.

The idea for the directory stems from the project “Building Platforms”, a communal and intersectional programme, conceived as a part of the international design conference “Beyond Change. Questioning the Role of Design in Times of Global Transformation” (March 08—10, March 2018) at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel (Switzerland). On the basis of three invited design platforms, Decolonising Design Group, Depatriarchise Design, and Precarity Pilot, the programme was devised with the intention of fostering an intersectional debate on the politics of design within practice, theory, and academic research — with particular focus on race, ethnicity, gender, and class — while proposing modes of knowledge exchange beyond traditional academic conference formats.

As a continuation of the project beyond the conference in Basel, the Building Platforms Directory aims to collect more initiatives from around the world, providing a global overview of developments in the critical understanding of design and inspiring a collective effort.

Feel free to send any suggestions to platforms@beyondchange.ch

“Beyond Change: Questioning the Role of Design in Times of Global Transformation” will take place between March 8–10, 2018 at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. The conference is organised by the Swiss Design Network, the national competence network for design research in Switzerland, comprising all Swiss Art and Design Universities. “Building Platforms” is organised by Nina Paim and Julia Sommerfeld.