Feminism. Design. Politics. Where these three intersect, you will find Futuress. As a queer intersectional feminist platform, Futuress strives to be a home for the people, histories, and perspectives that have been—and still often remain—underrepresented, oppressed, and ignored.
We stand together, a community for transnational solidarity. We view design as a social and political practice—one that shapes our lived realities. Design is in the words we speak, the objects around us, in the things we do, in the systems around us—all of which, too often, are fundamentally flawed. But design can also be a lens to critically look at the world, and unite us toward a common goal. The daunting struggles for social, spatial and environmental justice require us to come together, across our differences, as a learning community.
At Futuress, we want to reimagine the world as a classroom without walls, where learning is ubiquitous. Through this lens, in the words of Achille Mbembe, we are capable “of covening various publics in new forms of assemblies that become points of convergence [...] for the redistribution of different kinds of knowledge”. ...And just maybe, through these social and collective processes, by uniting passions across divides… we can enact change!
- 1. Radically democratize the access to design education and discourse. 2. Empower and amplify the voices of womxn, BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and others from marginalized backgrounds.
A) We facilitate online workshops, lectures and panel discussions on design research, writing, and creative storytelling. We brainstorm, support, and drive our community’s thoughts and research, honing the talent and craft through radical listening and generous feedback and critiques. This is where the magic happens! :)
B) From our educational formats, the seeds of discourse evolve into original articles, stories and essays, which are then published on our website—adhering to our guiding philosophy of making design research public. This is how we spread the Futuress word, building social value in our communities and beyond, promoting our principles and beliefs of openness and inclusion. That’s how we shake things up... stir up trouble! ;)
- Futuress was originally conceived for a series of exhibitions in 2019, as a speculative project collecting design books that were “yet to be written.” Anyone could upload ideas for missing design stories onto our beta website, which would then materialize as floating books on the screen. Then, in the summer of 2020, Futuress was reimagined by Brazilian curator and design researcher Nina Paim, Swiss journalist and editor Eliot C. Gisel, and British-German writer and editor Madeleine Morley. During uncertain and unstable times, the three came together to envision Futuress as a space for togetherness, generosity, resistance, growth, and social purpose. Futuress was officially launched in November 2020 as a hybrid between an online magazine and a community space. In the months that followed, we have grown into a vibrant platform for design politics, with active members dispersed through five continents. Since November 2021, Futuress is run by the Basel based non-profit depatriarchise design.
- Our multiple digital channels of communication—a website, a newsletter, and various social media and communication platforms—form the foundation for us to connect. Through these, we support the next generation of designers, researchers, journalists, and activists, who, scattered throughout the globe, problematize the role of design, and challenge power and privilege.
- Our website amplifies the voices of our community. We publish a wide range of stories on a weekly basis, including articles and essays produced by workshop participants, transcripted lectures, and original pieces by the Futuress team, often in collaboration with partner organizations. We also publish pieces by former workshop participants and tutors, guest lecturers, advisors, and more. At our core, Futuress is not just a platform but an ecosystem: our growing hive of learning is a community that is alive, buzzing with the power of our voices and our stories.
- Our language of choice is English—a “bridging” language spoken by over two billion of the world’s population; the most potent and accessible vehicle for our voices. Futuress wants to claim this language—a tool of colonial domination—and use it against itself.
Grants and Support
We are indebted to the generosity of our supporters and funding partners, without whom Futuress would not be possible. Thus far, Futuress has received a generous grant by Pro Helvetia as part of their “Close Distance” COVID-19 related temporary funding scheme, as well as financial support and guidance from the “What’s Next_Project” initiative of Zurich University of the Art’s Z-Kubator. Additional support in the form of mentoring was provided by the Swiss Cultural Challenge (SCC).
Pitch & Submit
We’re keen to hear about your projects and ongoing research. At Futuress, design is as much artifacts and aesthetics as it is, for instance, the grammatical structure of a language, the infrastructure of a border, or the systems underpinning how food is circulated. We’re therefore looking for stories on the politics of design and the design of politics, on marginalized visual and political histories, on design’s role in activist causes, and on the impact of social structures and processes on our personal experiences of the world.
We welcome unsolicited pitches from people who have important stories to tell—no matter whether you’re a professional journalist, designer, emerging writer, academic researcher, committed activist, or simply someone with something to say. You can read more about our approach to storytelling in our Futuress Writer’s Pack.
We’re also interested in hearing about your projects, events, or up actions for potential story features and social media mentions.
Please keep in mind that we’re a small team, so it may take us a while to respond to you. Due to our current scope and size, we also may not be able to take every pitch we actually want to commission.
1) Pitch a story:
- We generally publish non-fiction stories. That is, fact-based essays, interviews, features, investigative reporting, or narrative nonfiction pieces. In certain instances, we’re also open to publishing fiction.
- We believe in the power of storytelling to reach broad audiences. If you’re most comfortable with academic writing, for instance, we’re happy to help you adapt your research into a format geared towards a wider readership.
- We publish in English, and support non-native speakers. While we acknowledge that English is deeply entangled in the colonial matrix, it’s the language spoken by the largest percentage of non-native speakers, and a powerful bridge language today. We offer additional editorial support to non-native English speakers.
- We pay competitive prices. Our commissions are not based on word count but are proportionate to the amount of reporting and research. Fees start at 200 CHF for personal essays or lightly reported pieces, and go up to 1,000 CHF for pieces that are more heavily reported.
Please send your pitches via email to email@example.com. Please include:
- A working headline and subhead. This gives us a first idea of the direction of your piece. Futuress uses shorter, open-ended, and evocative headlines in combination with more descriptive, factual subheads.
- A short abstract of your story idea (max. 300 words). This should set out what you want the article to be about, what kind of form you’re envisioning, and the research you’re drawing from. Please mention the political or social relevance of your pitch and why you think it should be published on Futuress, and include relevant hyperlinks.
- A situated biography. We take great heed of the slogan from disability-rights activism, “nothing about us without us.” We’d therefore appreciate a situated biography from writers that includes your positionality and how it relates to your pitch.
- Some examples of previous and current work. As mentioned, you don’t have to be a working writer. This is more for us to get to know you a bit better through the work that you do. You can submit previous writing, creative work, research papers, or any other experiences that you think are relevant.
2) Submitting your project:
While we don’t run portfolio based features, we do cover projects, initiatives, publications, platforms, events, and actions that we want to support on our social media channels or through articles. If you think your project aligns with what Futuress stands for, please send more information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and writing shouldn’t be paid with symbolic fees. We were able to get Futuress off the ground thanks to cultural funding and personal investment. Now, we need your support to keep Futuress going and growing.
In the past years, the digital turn and big tech has led to a failure of established business models in journalism and publishing. And now, COVID-19 has exacerbated those financing problems. On top of that, it has always been difficult to fund research and writing that takes a stance against big power and structural inequalities. In the midst of all of this, what we’re trying to do with Futuress isn’t easy—all support counts.
Your support will help us continue to commission original writing, research, and reporting from people from around the world. It will help us offer more workshops at affordable prices on a sliding scale. It will help our team keep doing their work, without which Futuress could not exist. And we’re dreaming big: We want to expand our team, commission more freelancers, offer free-of-charge workshops, and develop a digital community through the form of a membership space. These dreams can only be achieved through a collective effort.
We are planning a crowdfunding effort and a Futuress membership scheme for the beginning of 2021. In the meantime, you can support us by: 1) Signing up to our newsletter, or 2) Making a donation.
Sign up to our newsletter
Our newsletter keeps you up to date on what is going on with Futuress. It highlights new stories, and includes information about upcoming lectures and workshops.
For online publishing, newsletters have a double function. They serve you, the community, but they also help us to create a small income stream. Futuress is careful about what brands it partners with. However, we offer ad spots in our newsletter. By signing up for free, you are also helping us begin our monetization process. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
If you’d like to support Futuress by advertising in our newsletter, please email email@example.com for more information.
We are grateful for any amount you are willing to donate; every contribution helps. If you can afford to donate a bit more, here are some numbers to help you understand what you could contribute to:
- 150 CHF ($164) allows us to pay second publishing rights for an existing article
- 400 CHF ($438) allows us to commission an essay based on prior research or with lighter reporting
- 800 CHF ($875) allows us to commission a heavily researched and reported article
- 1,000 CHF ($1,095) would even give us the possibility to commission accompanying photography or up the reporting budget for the writer
Futuress is currently operated by the Swiss non-profit depatriarchise design.
Concept and design: Futuress
Design of Futuress logo and initial visual identity: Ann Kern
Typefaces: Osram by Selina Bernet, Actual by Fabiola Mejía, Nikolaiby Franziska Weitgruber
Website design: Corin Eliot Gisel
Website development: Morgan Brown<>