How to create the social and material conditions that make critical, transformative design practice possible? This question continues to drive us in our work, especially because we are convinced that if we want design skills to be used for the creation of a world into which many worlds fit, then lots of people interested in doing such transformative work need to be enabled to do it repeatedly and in the long-run.
This practice-based doctorate sets out to investigate and intervene in the tense relation between the production of socially as well as politically relevant design work and the socio-economic precariousness many designers experience. Starting from an engagement with the precarious working conditions of designers, their genealogy over the last 30+ years and the role precarisation plays in forming docile creative subjects, the research moves on to a wider critique of the political economy and of its precarising value practices.
In this book chapter, we consider what it would mean to see the sites and practices of 'life's work' as potential areas that spark change in economies and subjectivities.