An entire day of the 2020 festival was held in line with the motto EITHER OR – BOTH AND. GENDER-SENSITIVE DESIGN. This was also the theme of a symposium organized by the New Design University St. Pölten (NDU), which brought international positions to Vienna. The event attracted a large number of visitors who, due to the restriction on numbers caused by COVID-19, followed the proceedings both in situ and online. A complex technical setting enabled the entire symposium to be streamed online, with international guests linking up live to make their contributions. Lea Susemichl, editor-in-chief of the magazine Anschläge, moderated the symposium, which examined a broad range of approaches to the question of gender equality in design. The areas under discussion included product design, advertising, fashion design, and food production and marketing, as well as the question of how this subject can and should be addressed in today’s teaching. Gender parity has been achieved in design schools and yet many questions remain: To what extent are these social changes impacting upon our material culture? Spaces and everyday objects such as clothes or furniture continue to massively contribute to the establishment of gender roles. How can we create an awareness of the basic paradigm, in which the form of consumer and living environments also encourages the establishment of social gender roles (key word: gender)? How can ways of acting and gender attributions (key words: gender sensitivity) already be reflected, organized, and evaluated in the design process?
These questions were addressed by the speakers: Friedrich von Borries, Mayar El Bakry and depatriarchise design, Ulrike Haele, Laura Haensler, Christian Jurke, and Stefanie Wuschitz.
The symposium was organized by the Manual & Material Culture course of the New Design University St. Pölten (NDU). With the friendly support of the D.E.S.I.G.N Foundation.
The symposium was broadcast as a livestream on the YouTube channel of the course CLICK, where it can be accessed at any time.