Pivot 2021 Virtual Conference July 22-23 2021
Dismantling Reassembling - tools for alternative futures

Making sense/zines: reflecting on positionality

We have to be conscious about our own situatedness in the ecologies for and with which we design, but also invite for critical reviewing this situatedness. In order to do so, to become conscious and to critically review, I believe something needs to trigger and intervene. This paper is a personal account of sense-making and tool shaping, to support critically reflecting on my own positionality. I introduce my two tools: Graphical Peeling and Sensing/Zining, which rely both on ‘layouting’ to provide space for reflection. I am not a graphical designer, but this way of working seems to help unbalance my very personal understandings, assumptions and experiences and provides a space where I can go in dialogue with myself and my experiences. By bringing together experiences, designs made and notes from research and reading, I am working through the material in different ways. I go deeper into the context with each layer I am adding, rethinking the situations that occurred and providing an opportunity to stop, think and be critical. Through this paper I do not necessarily aim for others to use those tools specifically, but rather emphasise the importance to allow for personal, creative, designerly journeys of sense-making, and decolonisation.

Reflective spaces, positioning, participatory design, making

About Lizette Reitsma

Lizette Reitsma is a design researcher who has been working with different (indigenous) communities, in Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Scotland, and with questions about how to invite for dialogue between ontologies. Her focus in her research is on sustainability, cultural heritage preservation and social change. Making sense through making takes a central role in her practice through research through design. Both as a mediating role between her and the people she works with and in the analytical, individual phases of her work. In her work and understanding of it, she has to look critical at who she is, how she relates and her positionality. This is important especially since she is a designer who grew up in the Netherlands (a country with a colonising past), and has been rooted and educated within the modernist hegemony. So, the sense-making and tool shaping as presented here, is besides an analytical, also a decolonising journey.

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