Saturday 8 November 2008

Design in the Front Line Climate Camp

I found this information from CR blog (Oct 08) Design in the Front Line Climate Camp

"Climate Camp provides an opportunity to examine design activism in action. Jody Boehnert attended this year’s event and reported back for CR.
The design industry is an import­ant player in the creation of a sustainable society, writes Jody Boehnert. Designers could help the world collectively rise to the challenge, but only if we wrench our creative faculties free from their recent history as servants of industry, pawns in a game that spawns the conspic­uous consumption that is now clearly causing ecological overshoot.
The Climate Camp this year took place near the Kingsnorth power station (the site of the proposed first new coal fired power station in the UK in over 25 years) with a day of action that was remarkably disciplined in the face of police intimidation.
Within the Climate Camp activism is evolving. The camp makes sophisti­cated use of the media and its networks through an extensive communications strategy. Activism is said to be the public face of social movements. In a media saturated world the public image of a movement must compete with well-funded industry advertising and public relations campaigns. Design has helped mediate the public image of Climate Camp and transform the move­ment into a friendly, under­standable, but politically powerful voice of dissent. 

Each year the camp has worked with the Manchester-based studio Ultimate Holding Company (UHC) to create an integrated campaign (website, posters, flyers, stickers, etc.). The leading image for the 2008 camp was a Swiss army knife, out of which all the tools of activism extended: here is wrench, book, wind turbine, loud speaker, rubber boot, carrot, and flower.

The camp also produced a newspaper, You Are Here, in an edition of 20,000. Subtle headlines, text and images draw you into the issues slowly. Climate change is not even mentioned or alluded to until several pages into the paper. John Jordan worked on the paper and is one of the key design activists at the camp.
The intention, he claims, is “to make publicity materials which have the slickness of corporate media yet the punch of rebel flyers, the poetic writing of literature yet the political analysis of radical theory, the desir­ability of capitalist design, yet the subversiveness of anarchist thinking”.

Jody Boehnert is a graphic designer and founder of EcoLabs. She has recently started a PhD at the University of Brighton where her research topic is the communication of ecological literacy. This article appeared in the October issue of Creative Review.

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