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A while back, Noah asked if anyone from Osocio would review The Design Activist’s Handbook. Both Marc and I wrote a review, and Marc posted his first. That explains why there are two reviews of the book on Osocio. If you’d like your book reviewed, please get in touch.
Review of The Design Activist’s Handbook by Noah Scalin & Michelle Taute
This is an excellent book.
I wish I had a few copies on my shelf. I’d hand them out to all the young creatives and design students I meet, when they ask me the questions that all designers with a conscience ask sooner or later:
How did I end up here?
How do I change it?
What choices do I have?
Are there other ways of being a designer?
And above all,
How do I make a living without compromising my values?
This book frames those questions for people who haven’t yet found the ways to ask them. And it provides its readers with ways to answer them. Different ways to think about a career in creativity or design. New models of design business. Ways to find partners, funders, clients and projects that chime with your view of the world.
Both inspiring and practical, it also contains interviews and features with practitioners in conscientious design. People who are, as The Design Activist’s Handbook has it, already both ‘making a difference’ and ‘making a living’. My one minor complaint might be that it could benefit from more global examples – they are all from the US, though to be fair this book is aimed at a US audience.
What it’s not is a conscientious design or design ideas sourcebook. For that, I’d recommend Goodvertising or, you know, the internet (this blog is a good place to start). The design examples it does show are primarily useful because they tell stories about how work was commissioned and created. How it came to be, which, if you’re a conscientious designer, is just as important as what it is.
It will probably put into words what many designers already feel. It will, I hope, inspire a new generation of people to put their talent and creativity into shifting the world on its axis rather than just shifting product. In its pages may be the future creative department of The Good Agency and the next generation of Osocio bloggers. For that alone, we should be thankful.
If you’re a designer or creative, and you want a book that helps you both ask and answer the questions that really matter, buy this one.
The Good Agency
[via LA Times]
Last week, the LA Times revealed shocking statistics that sexual performers in Los Angeles have much higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than prostitutes in Nevada:
Sexually transmitted infection rates among legal prostitutes are negligible, the report said, because brothel workers in Nevada are required by state law to use condoms and are tested weekly for disease. Since those rules went into effect in Nevada, there have been no cases of HIV infection, and their infection rates were negligible, the report said.
Last year, an HIV epidemic basically shut down the “legal” pornography industry in Southern California. As a result, in yesterday’s election, Californians voted on Measure B, legally obliging actors in L.A. County to wear condoms on adult film sets. It wasn’t expected to pass. But then it did.
In addition to mandating condom use, Measure B will require sex film producers to apply for a permit from the LA County Department of Public Health to shoot explicit scenes. The fee will finance periodic inspections of film sets, and violations will be subject to fines and even criminal charges.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC, sexual violence is a community-wide problem. Rape, in the DRC has been used as a weapon of war and sadly continues to increase even after. According to the peacebuilding NGO Search for Common Ground or SFCG, it is estimated that there are over 400,000 surviving rape victims living in the DRC today. In this environment violence against women has become normative behavior.
SFCG says “the campaign turns common assumptions about male behavior in familiar situations, such as going to a job interview, on their head. The peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground, believes sexual violence is best addressed when men are active partners in the solution.
According to C-Picks at C-Change, Country Director Dirk Koch, explains “One often sees campaigns that denounce men’s behaviors and say what they should not do, but one never sees a campaign that motivates men to become positive, to find their inner strength, and to respect women and girls.”
The Vrai Djo Campaign features five short films and three audio spots which are broadcasted throughout the country. The PSAs (Public Service Announcements) feature Celeo Scram, “a Congolese superstar with a positive image”, In the spots he says he says “A real man (Vrai Djo) is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to control himself.
The campaign instead shows a person who respects himself and respects the women and girls around him.” The films portray scenarios that often lead to sexual harassment or abuse which would be familiar in the Congolese context (e.g., a job interview or a wife returning late from work) and shows instead opportunities for men to support the women in their lives.
David de Rothschild is an adventurer, environmentalist, eternal optimist and the founder of myoo.com a group that uses exploration, adventure and storytelling as a way to give nature a voice. David is leading a new generation of action-oriented change makers and reigniting a collective spirit of hope that the fate of our planet can be rewritten. Driven by his immeasurable curiosity for the natural world he has journeyed to both poles and ventured to some of the most remote and fragile ecosystems on our planet in order to bring widespread attention and innovative solutions to urgent global environmental issues.
In 2006, David spent over 100 days crossing the Arctic from Russia to Canada, which made him the youngest British person, to ever reach both geographical poles. By then he had already become one of only 14 people ever to cross the continent of Antarctica, and was part of a team that broke the world record for the fastest ever crossing of the Greenland ice cap. In 2007, David led a field expedition to the rainforest of Ecuador, to draw attention to the damage international oil companies have caused by drilling the vast oil reserves.
Underlying this is David’s unwavering belief that we must work together and question a ‘that’s just the way we’ve done it’ mentality, best exemplified in David’s 2010 expedition; the Plastiki. In early 2010 he sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a catamaran made buoyant by 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles to alert the world to the shocking effects of single use plastics on the health of our oceans. The message and journey was seen and heard around the world by millions.
In November 2011 David and a core crew traveled into the heart of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest to discover the effects of the controversial Belo Monte dam project as part of MYOO’s ARTiculate series.
David is recognized as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Clean up the World Ambassador, UNEP Climate Hero and a Young Global Leader respectively.
Read the interview after the break.