The Wiener Urania adult education center and the Frauendomäne women’s network are committed to the visibility of female design skills as well as to “making these visible” to a wider audience. With a view to refuting the standard phrase “We couldn’t find a suitably skilled woman!” the workshop and the subsequent talk address related parameters, life experiences, solutions, and networking. Inspired by the figure from whom it derives its name – the muse of astronomy – the Wiener Urania has been increasingly focusing upon women, feminism, and gender since 2020. In a series of lectures, workshops, and courses, the Urania is presenting a range of feminist issues – new findings, current problems, and historic retrospectives, but also a positive examination of all that has already been achieved. The database of women experts, Frauendomäne, has been making female expertise visible to all since 2018. Frauendomäne is the first database in Austria, in which experts from all fields can enter themselves free of charge and to which all people and organizations have unlimited access.
Workshop “Reclaiming Expertise”: Fri 1.10., 4pm
When one talks about “expertise”, one also talks about “performance” and about the character traits that are connected with these terms. Who is seen as an expert and how they are expected to behave often depends upon the evaluation and recognition of others. One result of this is that criteria such as gender, skin color, and educational background always play a role in this evaluation – for none of us is immune to the phenomenon of “unconscious bias”. And what is the consequence of this fixed image of the expert? People, who don’t (or can’t) match this image, don’t use the term.
In order to counter this problem, we will work with experts from a range of specialist areas during the workshop “Reclaiming Expertise – What is your domain?” in order to reinterpret and redefine the terms “expertise” and “performance” so that they are open to all.
The workshop will focus on the following questions:
When is someone an expert?
What do the terms “expertise” and “performance” mean in a social context?
How can these terms be reinterpreted?
maximum 20 people – registration required (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Discussion Reclaiming Expertise: Who designs for whom and why? Fri 1.10., 6pm
Who is seen as an expert and how they are expected to behave often depends upon the evaluation and recognition of others. One result of this is that criteria such as gender, skin color, and educational background always play a role in this evaluation – for none of us is immune to the phenomenon of “unconscious bias”.
Conversely, designers have a range of opportunities for influencing the relationship between their products and the users thereof. They communicate meanings via their choice of form, color, and material, as well as via their use of symbols, metaphors, iconographies, and analogies. In this context, designers determine how we are and how we act.
We will continue the discussion raised by the workshop “Reclaiming Expertise” by addressing the questions: How does the evaluation of the expertise of designers impact upon their work? Which meanings and evaluations of their products do they pass on to the users?
Prof. Mag.a Doris Zametzer, Director of the VHS Wiener Urania & VHS Landstraße