Designing Economic Cultures is a research project that sets out to investigate the relationship between socio-economic precarity and the production of socially and politically engaged design projects.

The fundamental question the project poses is:
how can designers, who through their work want to question and challenge the prevalent economic system, gain a satisfying degree of social and economic security without having to submit themselves to the commercial pressures of the market?  Read more ›

Construction site for non-affirmative practice

Constructive Dismantling

My Castle Is Your Castle

European I-Pros: A study

Stéphane Rapelli released a study on the socio-demographic characterisation of I-Pros across Europe. I-Pros are defined as self-employed workers, without employees, who are engaged in an activity which does not belong to the farming, craft or retail sectors. They engage in activities of intellectual nature and/or which come under the service sector.

The study shows that the number of I-Pros has grown by 82% between 2000 and 2011, with the biggest concentration of I-Pros in Italy (1,688,894), the UK (1,608,436) and Germany (1,533,050).

For more details see the study itself: EFIP report English

Student debt in the U.S.

In the United States, two-thirds of college graduates leave school with student loan debt, an average of $25,000 each. Debt rates have increased 500 percent since 1999, and there are more and more of us across the country facing six-figure loans who will make monthly payments for the rest of our lives.
Indeed, the debt explosion has brought students and families to a grim milestone: on April 25, 2012, total student debt in the US will surpass one trillion dollars.


Feminism and Graphic Design

This data visualisation by Sara de Bondt and Merel van der Berg says it all about the gender divisions within graphic design today.

See more on their blog: Feminism and Graphic Design

Affordable housing – a definition

“The (US) government defines affordable housing as housing that costs no more than 30% of your income.”

Centre for Urban Pedagogy, The envisioning development toolkit

Who is getting your earnings?

Seen at the Tent City University, London, December 2011.

Link to the chart on-line.

Income poverty

According to a recently published figure by the Carrotworkers’ Collective in their Counter-Internship Guide, cultural workers earn 60% less than the national median of all UK employees. Moreover, 75% of cultural sector employees have no pension.

Calculation of income poverty

The calculation of the income poverty threshold is generally based on the average national income. If your income is below 60% of the average national income, then you are considered below the poverty line.

Here a few samples of average incomes in Europe:

Germany (2007): €27,083 (60% = €16,249.8)

Italy (2008): €18,873 (60% = €11,323.8)

United Kingdom (2004-2005): £22,800 (60% = £13,680)