The Editors | Twenty Years of Design Observer


African Ladies by Madam Cora Taylor. All images from White African: Maker Faire Africa, Ghana 2009. From Tinkers, Hackers, Farmers, Crafters.

In 2009—six years after Design Observer’s initial launch—our research on globalism led to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to study collective action and social impact across the design industries. What followed were essays, reviews, and in-depth analyses examining the role of social innovation through the kaleidoscopic lens of design theory and practice. Over the course of more than a decade, Change Observer reported on everything from equality in Iceland, to efficiency in Chile, from the aesthetics of luxury in Morocco to the symbolism of death in Mexico. From Kenya to Uganda, South Africa and throughout the South Sudan, across India and into a radically changing Cuba, we learned many things, including how little we know about any of it. Armed with new insights, inspired by new voices, empowered by optimism, collaboration, and trust, this work reminds us that design is most resonant when we stop to consider where we’re coming from—and where we’re going.

Jobs | May 26