WORKAROUND – Women Design Action
WORKAROUND engages with a movement of women focused on advocacy and activism within an expanded field of architecture. Each of these practitioners works towards positive change in the built environment and its surrounding cultures. Motivated by the increasing urgency of the challenges we all now face – environmental, social and professional – these women work around existing built-world conventions and structures. Working within, without and beside architecture as it has previously been conceived, they find the workarounds – both personal and professional – that are necessary to effect change.
Such practitioners share some common characteristics. They demonstrate a certain kind of agency, strategic opportunism, and values-based leadership. Also, they can be defined by what they are not – they are not conventional practitioners, and they are (generally) not producing objects or working within the traditional structure of the design office. These practitioners are agile and each has developed workarounds to critically negotiate and rethink systemic limitations; circumventing entrenched professional hierarchies; managing working life and family demands, and extending the bounds of architecture itself.
Within the diverse practices of these women, gender and feminist politics play varying roles: sometimes a direct and explicit driver, sometimes an implicit and understated context. Yet the fact of biological sex and encultured gender is more than incidental.
WORKAROUND showcases the practices of fourteen Australian practitioners: Simona Castricum, Esther Charlesworth, Pippa Dickson, Pia Ednie-Brown, Harriet Edquist, Mary Featherston, Guest, Riggs (Kate Riggs + Stephanie Guest), Amy Learmonth, Helen Norrie, OoPLA (Tania Davidge + Christine Phillips), Parlour, Sam Spurr, SueAnne Ware and XYX Lab (led by Director Dr Nicole Kalms and the combined strengths of core members — Dr Gene Bawden, Dr Pamela Salen, Allison Edwards, Hannah Korsmeyer and Zoe Condliffe). WORKAROUND takes the form of fourteen live-to-air episodes, broadcast to Design Hub’s website and will be open to a live studio audience in the Design Hub set each day.
Curatorium: Naomi Stead (Monash University), Kate Rhodes, Fleur Watson (RMIT University).
RMIT Design Hub team: Kate Rhodes, Nella Themelios, Erik North, Timothy McLeod, Layla Cluer, Michaela Bear.