Today, the British Council, Do the Green Thing and Pentagram launch DesignKind, a collaborative project that explores climate justice through a racial lens
Words by Shawn Adams
People of colour are the least responsible for the climate crisis but continue to suffer the most from its effects. The British Council, Do the Green Thing, and Pentagram aim to illustrate this in their latest project, DesignKind, hosted by Google Arts and Culture.
The spiritual successor of the British Council’s ‘Design Connections 10×10’ project and Do The Green Thing’s ‘The Colour of the Climate Crisis’, DesignKind is a collaborative showcase that partners creatives from South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa with designers from the United Kingdom to address racial and climate justice.
‘With the original 10×10 programme we were representing ten emerging UK designers, but with DesignKind we wanted to create something with more of an international reach’, explains design programme manager at the British Council, Parvinder Marwaha.
Made up of a total of eight emerging designers and collectives, the programme consists of UK-based creatives Identity 2.0, ceramic artist Bisila Noha, multidisciplinary artist Lokesh Saini and London-based organisation decosm. Overseas designers include the creative director of IAMSIGO, Bubu Ogisi, founder of NmBello Studio, Nifemi Marcus-Bello, illustrator Shehzil Malik and Material Library of India.
This diverse set of designers was selected by an international committee that included Kenyan fashion stylist Sunny Dolat, Indian architect Anupama Kundoo and art director at Pentagram Ailbhe Larkin. ‘We wanted to make sure we had representation from several regions and experience across multiple disciplines’, states Marwaha. Via DesignKind, these eight creatives and design collectives were paired to create four distinctive collaborations that explore the intersection of racial and climate justice.
Bisila Noha and Nifemi Marcus-Bello teamed up to develop a digital installation titled ‘Kindness, Optimism, Community’ which investigates Nigerian traditions of recycling and upcycling as an art form. Lokesh Saini and Shehzil Malik constructed an AI-generated film named ‘(de)Generating the City,’ which illustrates the shifts in the heavily polluted cities of Lahore and Delhi.
decosm partnered up with Bubu Ogisi to create ‘Decolonising Materiality: From a Colonial Past to a Decolonial Future,’ which explores the use of jute and finishing nets across Africa and the UK. While Material Library of India and Identity 2.0 have created Landless, an interactive resource that carefully maps climate migration across the globe.
Photography courtesy of the British Council featuring creative director of IAMSIGO, Bubu Ogisi
Through DesignKind, the British Council, Pentagram, and Do The Green thing seek to celebrate new talent and champion cross-cultural relationships. ‘Ultimately, we wanted to pair designers from different disciplines to create new forms of research while addressing global issues’, says Marwaha.
On Thursday 7th July, DesignKind will host an online event which will showcase each of the four collaborations with the designers speaking about their process, outputs, and overall experience on the programme. ‘We want attendees to learn something new and to observe the topics from multiple perspectives.’ The showcase will also feature designer-led social media takeovers across Do the Green Thing’s Instagram and there are plans to bring physical exhibitions to life in London, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
According to Marwaha the project is more about the ongoing process than its results and by thinking collectively we can make for a decolonial mindset. This experimental programme looks to contribute to a worldwide dialogue about the future of the planet. ‘When you look at the intersections of racial and climate justice, there is a deep and disturbing correlation. This needs to be acknowledged and the stories of loss need to be told to a wider audience.’
Photography courtesy of the British Council
For more information and to attend the launch event, please visit eventbrite.com
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