Critical design is an under represented form of counter – affirmative design, allowing space for designers to critique contemporary society through the power of their medium. Education in design and architecture has been relegated to solving the issues of a pro-capitalist elite, but this does not have to be your only agency as a designer!
Design and architecture has the potential to be something other than the backdrop to the everyday. Uniquely positioned at the junction between culture, politics and economics it can challenge society, provoking the current unquestioned norms around us.
Traditionally, this methodology has been reserved to an elite establishment of higher education in the UK. SOS aims to demolish this tenet, democratising a way of doing things and making critical design accessible.
SOS is an independent and nomadic critical design school that aims to challenge current models of delivering higher education. Through partnerships between museums, galleries, libraries and other public institutions, SOS aims to build relationships between the diverse latent pedagogy in our cities to create a different kind of educational offer.
Universities today gravitate toward market-driven education, not only through the education as product model, but in their delivery of market-ready students. SOS disputes this approach. SOS is an alternative model of education afforded by its own institutional framework outside of the traditional university. SOS is workshops, speakers’ events, summer schools, writings, lectures and discussion, making and drawing, visualising and critiquing the status quo using critical design.
Enough is enough. An inclusive university model cannot sustain this increase in cost whilst devaluing the importance of critical and non-linear learning in the Arts. In order to establish our aims, it is inevitable that an alternative model of education will emerge. If SOS is to challenge a way of design thinking and its component financial model, then SOS will require a new educational model.
SOS is committed to developing methods that rely on diversifying financial income for its projects and courses, establishing collaborative relationships with cultural institutions and reaching out to private and philanthropic sources of finance, public grants and funding.
Modelled as a network of relationships, in-between cultural institutions, SOS will invigorate existing spaces of cultural pedagogy and exchange to build a school from a network.