Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives


Claudia Mareis (ed)
Humboldt University of Berlin
Nina Paim (ed)
book cover design struggles


Design Struggles critically assesses the complicity of design in creating, perpetuating, and reinforcing social, political, and environmental problems — both today and in the past. The book proposes to brush the discipline against the grain, by problematizing Western notions of design, fostering situated, decolonial, and queer-feminist modes of disciplinary self-critique.

In order to reimagine design as an unbound, ambiguous, and unfinished practice, this publication gathers a diverse array of perspectives, ranging from social and cultural theory, design history, design activism, sociology, and anthropology, to critical and political studies, with a focus on looking at design through the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class, and beyond.

It combines robust scholarly insights with engaging and accessible modes of conveyance and storytelling by bringing together an urgent and expansive array of voices and views from those engaged in struggles with, against, or around the design field.

Author Biographies

Claudia Mareis, Humboldt University of Berlin

Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis is an expert for Design as well as Cultural History and Theory. Since 2021, she has been Professor of Design and History of Knowledge at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Her research interests include history, theory and methodology of design in the 20th century, knowledge cultures in design, experimental design and media practices, cultural history of creativity, design and material politics.

After initial training in Graphic Design, she studied Design, Art and Cultural Studies in Zurich, Berlin and Linz. Research and teaching positions subsequently took her to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the University of the Arts Berne, the University of Basel, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge/MA, and the Vilnius Academy of Art, among others.

From 2013 to 2021, she directed the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) as well as the Critical Media Lab at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. At IXDM she has built up a pioneering interdisciplinary research group converging Design, Media Arts, Anthropology, Historical Studies, and Technology.

As a member of several leading design research associations in Germany and Switzerland, Claudia Mareis has excellent networks in the field of Design Research. From 2016 to 2020 she was the vice president of the Swiss Design Network (SDN), and from 2008 to 2021 she was a board member of the German Society for Design Theory and Research (DGTF). From 2018 to 2021, she represented the field of Design and Art Research as a member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Nina Paim

Nina Paim is a Brazilian graphic designer based in Switzerland. After a detour into economics and philosophy, Nina studied graphic design at Esdi, Rio de Janeiro, and then at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. Her bachelor project was Escola Aberta, a temporary design school in Rio from August 6-11, 2012. She has been working independently as well as with other graphic designers: In june 2013 her collaboration with Corinne Gisel was nominated for the Swiss Design Award. Recently, as a guest curator of the 26th Brno Design Biennial, Nina conceived and designed the exhibition Taking a Line for a Walk, on the subject assignments in design education.


design, pedagogies, practices, social theory, cultural theory, design history, design activism, sociology, anthropology, critical and political studies, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class


1 December 2021


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)


Physical Dimensions

167mm x 230mm