Workshop: Resistance as Change – Power Dynamics, Social Movements & Design Facilitation

Lecture & participatory workshop on discovering inflection points within systemic issues

Led by: Natalia Villaman, MA in Creative Sustainability, Aalto University

Video of Natalia Villaman’s session and PDF slides of the presentation

Natalia Villaman lead a lecture and workshop on August 26th 10:15-12:30 on issues of power and resistance in socially-engaged design practices, as part of the Human-Centred Research and Design in Crisis course (CS-E4002) at Aalto University. A summary recap of the session was later prepared by Natalia. This session, attended by nearly 30 participants, drew on topics explored in Natalia’s MA thesis research titled Fostering resistance: Acknowledging notions of power exertion and politics in design facilitation.

In the lecture, Natalia focuses on exploring and unpacking components which comprise the everyday systems we are part of. In the first part, participants briefly touch upon the history of social movements, resistance vs resilience and power exertion and its many forms. In the second part, she transfers this knowledge into the field of design by looking at facilitation in the context of participatory encounters. The lecture explores different views and reflect on a variety of scenarios applicable to different contexts.

Student Protest in Vienna

The workshop is tailored to the students of the HCRD in Crisis course, however, everyone is welcome to join in and participate in the discussions. Together, we explore the projects students are working on and identify hegemonic practices, unpack different types of resistance and trigger our thinking in terms of prefigurative politics (DiSalvo, 2016). The overall idea is to actively seek for inflection points and challenge well-rooted behaviors and notions within design practice.

Deliberate Resistance, a diagram from Natalia Villaman’s MA Thesis


Readings *

Villaman, N. (2020). Fostering resistance: Acknowledging notions of power exertion and politics in design facilitation. Aalto University, Department of Design, Helsinki, Finland. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25566.87368 (11-19; 34-39; 44-45; 100-108) 

* The rest of the necessary theory is covered in the lecture preceding the workshop.


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