Episode 6 – Social Design w/ Michael Kaethler

“When you start to deconstruct or question design, all sorts of questions emerge: How does design affect our behaviour, our use of resources, our choices and freedoms to participate in social, political or economic decision-making, and the extent to which we feel we have agency over our lives?”

That is a point raised by Jan Boelen, a curator, educator and researcher in art and design who has been the head of the Master’s department of Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven since 2010.

Jan is one of the co-editors of a provocative new book titled Social Matter, Social Design (2020, Valiz), a collection of essays that explore uncanny, even disconcerting connections and assumptions about design, and challenge designers to incorporate a more nuanced and complex reading of how the social is intertwined with the material.

In this episode of Bevel, we chat with Michael Kaethler, a sociologist of design whose work focuses on the transmission, production and embodiment of knowledge in art and design-oriented practices, and a co-editor of this new book.