I explored the radical, chaotic, and deconstructive potential of queerness and queer theory in design. I presented “Theorizing a queered design and the (im)possibility of design for the common good” at the Swiss Design Network Conference 2021.
Queer critiques can radically undermine social structures, bringing attention to hidden and not so hidden biases. This makes a queer perspective highly valuable for design, potentially able to inform much-needed design transitions and major projects like design for the common good. However, is it appropriate to employ a queer lens in this way? This paper grapples with these issues, exploring what queering design might mean and how it may inform design for the common good. The study is based on a review and analysis of queer theory literature and writing at the intersections of queer and design. The conclusions stress the radical, chaotic, and deconstructive potential of queerness and queer theory in design, argue that it should be employed authentically, and note that it will not solve design problems. The results also argue for the impossibility and undesirability of design for the common good.
Home page image from the Gender Spectrum Collection