Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need

Sasha Constanza Chock

Design Justice

From The Conference September 01, 2023

“Injustice it’s not rooted in computing. It’s been happening for hundreds of years and it’s still being imposed through centuries in violence through colonialism.”

“Before seeking new design solutions, we look for what is already working at the community level”. This is one of the 10 principles for design justice that Costanza-Chock presents in her keynote, which is essential listening for middle-class gender-normative designers. We might be blind to the burdens imparted on less privileged individuals, but if we think more about the implications our devices, interfaces and systems have on everyone, we can get far. That’s the message that Costanza-Chock has for us.


There’s no one “best” approach to design problems – “I’m not looking for the systems to be less biased”, they say. Because we’re living in an historical time where there’s a slow sea-change taking place. The Design Justice book from 2020 presents concrete examples of how marginalised peoples are disproportionately burdened by existing systems and technologies. Designers, activists and developers alike can learn from and be inspired by the Design Justice Network to engage in liberating system design. Because the root of the issue is the structural inequality that reproduces this ‘matrix of domination’, as Patricia Hill Collins defined it in Black Feminist Thought. There are huge interlocking systems of oppression (from capitalism to white supremacy) and design justice is a concrete framework for beginning to tackle these age-old issues.

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