Final project of the MA Design and Environment questioning what it means to live a sustainable life.
In a world were the current western model for a desirable lifestyle does not seem to be leading to better societies or more fulfilling lives, this project examined alternative life practices built around values. It asked whether design could be used as a tool to support the recognition of alternative practices, helping bring them into our collective imagination and repertoire of possibilities for action.
Through a collaborative design process, four “everyday activists” were invited to document their life using “cultural probes” (including a diary, a camera and crayons). In their documentation they all spoke of the challenge of being misunderstood or unaccepted for choosing to live in accordance to their values. As a response, I created a toolkit to help communicate each of their values in their everyday lives.
The responses and conversations with some of the collaborators to the specific toolkits designed for them, led to the creation of one final 'Personal Toolkit'. This one had three aims: to highlight the value of choosing to engage in alternative or intentional practices as forms of everyday activism; to provide tools to support these everyday activist in their brave endeavours; and also to help them engage in better conversations with others. It was directed not only at individuals already engaging in some alternative practices but also at people who are keen to start questioning their lives and trying new things.
A manual for the “Personal Everyday Activism Toolkit” was designed including along with the instructions on how to build the toolkit, a theoretical framework around effective communications, non-violent language, cultural barriers and behaviour change.