Politics of Translation
On a daily basis, designers are contributing to the solidarity which is needed to move towards more sustainable and rightful futures for the matters they care about, such as climate change, migration or mobility. One of the strategies designers use is to work with collectives - made of human and non-human actors - in creating alternative visions about these futures in participatory ways (Huybrechts, Teli, Zuljevic & Bettega, 2020). This requires designers to be able to translate in-between the different languages the actors involved in these collectives use on a daily basis. Sometimes this implies to find ways to include those actors who are not represented directly in design processes (‘implicated actors’, Clarke & Montini, 1993) in articulating the common matters of care (De la Bellacasa 2018). In other instances, this means to find ways to engage with the voices of non human agents (such as trees or water) by collaborating with scientists or environmental activists. It can also mean to challenge the anthropocentric and often Western-centric use of words when we design that often obscure and hinders our work with collectives. This chapter discusses the challenges represented by the various translations designers have to engage in when crafting these visions with and within the collectives shaping our societies today. It addresses the ways in which designers - thanks to diverse modes of representation, models, workshops and so on - can translate insights, ideas and visions between and within different collectives in society and how these translations contribute to the solidarity which is pivotal to move towards more sustainable and rightful futures. The chapter particularly makes a plea to more carefully address as designers the politics of translation. It builds on the definition of Spivak (2013) who states that translation should aim for solidarity and that this can only be achieved by learning the language - whatever linguistic form we might intend with this umbrella of this word - of others.
North-South Limburg in Translation - Correspondences between Neighbourhoods and Large-Scale Spatial Transformations
Kolenspoor - Imagining 'Ecolony': The Role of Imagination in Repoliticising Spatial Change
Relational Design Practices in Belgium - Disarticulating Power Dynamics through Fictional Offices