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

A co-residency programme

My Castle Is Your Castle has been a three months long co-residency program that we run inside our studio at A-I-R Laboratory, CSW Ujazdowski Castle, while we were doing an artist residency there from March to July 2011.

As our first experimental structure in the frames of Designing Economic Cultures, over this period we shared our living and working space – as well as the budget originally allocated to our travels during the residency – with 6 different practitioners:

29.04-14.05 Anna Sikorska (British artist with Polish origins based in London, UK)
14.05-31.05 Yesomi Umolu (British-Nigerian curator based in London, UK)
01.06-14.06 Ray O’Meara (Irish graphic designer based in London, UK)
15.06-31.06 Steven Emmanuel (British artist based in Nürnberg, Germany)
27.06-03.07 Dan Russell (British designer based in Manchester, UK)
18.07-22.07 Tanya Kuznetsova (Russian illustrator based in Moscow, RU)

In order to ‘soften the tensions’ that might have emerged from a prolonged co-habitation, we divided our studio into two parts of roughly the same size, by building a wooden structure in it, a sort of ‘room in a room’ for our guests – a ‘device for resource sharing’?


– hosting implies affective labour. When you are stressed this might come short;
– you need time to care for guests;
– how to allow for flexibility? Ideas come while you experiment;
– not inviting people with a brief gives space for reflections and takes away stress;
– does it need rules? If yes, how to establish them?
– organisation takes up more time than you think;
– what seems a big step in the making, seems a small step in the aftermath;
– everyone uses space differently;
– stories and experiences get exchanged;
– time flows at a different speed and is measured by different means;
– your own daily routine changes adapting to your guest’s routine and vice-versa;
– having a guest who comes to live and work in the same space you live and work in makes you reconsider and view more objectively your own work and life;
– how to reach a diverse group of people with an open call?