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

DIY culture and autonomy in the everyday before and after 1989 – seminar with Adrian Zandberg

Adrian Zandberg, an expert of the cooperative movement and member of the Warsaw Food Cooperative, introduced us to the roots of cooperatives in Poland and discussed what is still existing on the ground today.


– in between WWI and WWII the Polish coop movement had been very strong. The things build up during this period had been gradually dismantled in spirit and turned into state-owned, centrally governed units;
– the coop buildings where planned collectively and the future tenants opted for very low cost options without central heating and without gas supply. This way they wanted to make sure that even if they should be out of their job for a while, they would still be able to afford to live in their coop flat;
– they tried to set up continuous projects in order to regain control on as many aspects of their lives as possible;
– the housing and consumer cooperatives generated an income that could then be reinvested in other parts of life and society, like libraries, cultural activities, the integration their children’s education with alternative methods (i.e creativity workshops), the running of adult education courses;
– intellectuals who moved into the coop would provide education. After a while also the people with working-class background taught their skills to others;
– there was a common organisation of sports activities, there was for example a bike-sharing initiative;
– people where sharing objects that could not be afforded individually;
– in the Polish mountains, in Zakopane, there was a shared holiday house – the vagabonds’ house cooperative;
– there was an emphasis on the empowerment of women;
– members of the coop movement in Poland had ties with the English movement;
– the Legia of cooperative movements organises an event every half a year where objects of domestic production would be exchanged;