Tracy Zisiga Mukulu

October 17, 2014

Designing for the Other

While design's primary role should be one that looks beyond the physicality of the structure, seeking to create strong social, psychological and cultural connections, it more often than not assumes an elevated status. The voices of low income communities and the individual are often forgotten in the fabrication of products, spaces and structures. Yet, who designs for the other? What tools are necessary for the successful exchange and empowerment of low income communities?
Through highlighting the importance of embracing elements of surprise, self awareness and an interdisciplinary approach, I hope to create connections by paralleling my academic process as a special major in Industrial Design and my journey in establishing a role as a design student in a non-profit organization. This summer, I worked in Kopernik, a non-profit organization in Indonesia that seeks to connect simple technologies to last mile communities. These communities are marginalized socio-economically, politically, and/or physically, by governments and institutions that claim to have their best interests in mind. Kopernik enables them to transform and enrich their lives through the use of technologies as tools for change.