We offer a lively monthly program of online workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and networking events around the politics of design.


We offer a lively monthly program of online workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and networking events around the politics of design.


We are a globally-dispersed team of mostly womxn and non-binary designers, writers, journalists, editors, researchers, educators, artists, activists and beyond.

#Oct. 2, 2020 – Jan. 24, 2021

Troublemakers Class of 2020

A remote workshop for design research and writing, and a support network for the killjoys, outcasts, misfits, and rebels of design.


Troublemakers Class of 2020

Welcome to the Troublemakers Class of 2020, a remote workshop for design research and writing, and a support network for the killjoys, underdogs, outcasts, misfits, rebels, and downright troublemakers asking difficult questions on design campuses worldwide.

The Troublemakers is a para-academic environment to nurture and hone ongoing research; a safer space for those yearning to find others who they can share, learn, and grow with. The Troublemakers reject the idea that design is an all-powerful, problem-solving discipline, understanding that design itself is complicit with multiple systems of oppression that reinforce structural inequalities. They believe that design research is more than just a step in producing products and services—it’s a worthwhile endeavour in and of itself.

  • Starts:  October 2, 2020
  • Ends: January 24, 2021
  • Participants bring their current research to the workshop
  • Each Troublemaker will write one essay/article in English
  • 7 group sessions, on Tuesdays or Fridays, in different time slots
  • 6 inputs by Futuress editors and guest tutors
  • Basic price: €120 (or 3 × €40)
  • Solidarity price: €240 (or 3 × €80)*Individual reductions and scholarships available*


For the past several months at Futuress, we’ve been receiving numerous emails and phone calls from troublemaking individuals—design researchers struggling to pursue topics of urgent political importance at their various universities, faculties, or institutions. They reach out to us because they’re lacking intuitional support, and are seeking guidance on their queer, feminist, intersectional, anti-racist, and decolonial design projects. These students have become troubled—sometimes are even in trouble—and they feel alone. We know what it feels like; the emotional toll that it takes. But we also know that together, us troublemakers are a critical mass—a movement in the making, and an alliance in defiance.


You’re a design researcher, or studying to become one. You’re currently in the midst of a research project that deals with the politics of design and/or the design of politics, and you’d like to present your findings in a compelling and accessible way. You believe that your topic is of urgent political importance and should be heard—by as many people as possible. You’ve chosen to focus on a difficult subject, and aren’t afraid to question privilege and power. You’re also not afraid to call things by their true names: Bias, prejudice, racism, sexism, violence, justice. And you use the F word a lot—Feminism, that is.

You’re angry. Angry at the inequalities around you, angry at design history, angry at design academia, angry at the language used to talk about design. This anger fuels your research—research, which for you, is a modest means to contribute to the dismantling and disruption of white supremacy, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, patriarchy, ableism. The world around you does not respect your identity, your pronouns, your background—let alone your needs or criticism of design. Sometimes you ask yourself: Am I the only one seeing all of this, and troubled by the mess?


Each Troublemaker brings their ongoing research to the workshop—this could be a thesis that’s in the works, a final year project, a semester assignment, a long-standing obsession, or a piece of research you’ve been pursuing on your own accord. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have produced one final article relating to your research topic, which will be edited and published on Futuress.

At Futuress, we believe in the power of accessible writing to reach wide audiences of varying ages, geographies, and backgrounds; we believe that great writing can open people’s eyes to inequalities and injustices in the world. It’s this power that we’ll seek to harness in the Troublemakers Class of 2020. We’ll support each of you in crafting your research into an accessible format—adhering to our guiding philosophy to make design research public.

The Troublemakers’ articles will be edited by and published in the online design magazine Futuress. You might end up producing a Q&A interview, a personal essay, data journalism, an investigative report, or something else entirely. It’s up to you—and how you want to manifest your voice and story. But the Troublemakers Class of 2020 isn’t simply a writing workshop; rather, it’s a community, one united by a shared investment in design and politics.

Although published and edited by Futuress, each Troublemaker is granted exclusive rights to their text—meaning that you may sell and republish it in another outlet. The Futuress team will be there to offer advice, suggestions, and guidance in this domain.

Futuress publishes in English, firstly because it’s the bridging language of its three co-founders, and secondly because the English-language dominates the global information market. Futuress wants to claim this language—a tool of colonial powers past—and use it against itself. Special editorial support will be given to participants for whom English is not a comfortable language.

Structure & Schedule

Over the course of the workshop, the Troublemakers will discuss research developments in synergy, find new sparring partners, swap ideas and reading materials, form support and solidarity networks, and develop new research and writing skills.

  • Application deadline (NOW CLOSED): September 20, 2020
  • Kick-off: October 2, 2020

After the kick-off, participants will be split into groups (allocated depending on topic and timezone/availability)

Sessions take place bi-weekly on Tuesdays or Fridays, at three different time-slots: 9–11am, 13–15pm, 16–18pm CEST

  • 6 additional inputs by Futuress and guests will take place on Mondays, covering skills like interviewing, archival research, corpus creation, data analysis, and more. All inputs will be recorded and available online if missed

A Slack group will form an ongoing base for the Troublemakers to plot and plan within.

Contribution towards costs

The fees for the Troublemaker Class of 2020 contribute to the overall cost of running the workshop. We try to keep the fees as low as possible, and want to ensure a fair and solidarity-based pricing model. The fee can either be paid in full or in three installments.

  • Basic price: €120
    (3 × €40, for students, recent graduates, and starting-out professionals)
  • Solidarity price: 240 EUR
    (3 × €80 if your institution/employer is paying, or you can and want to pay it forward)
  • Reduced price: €0-75
    (If you are accepted to the workshop but cannot afford to pay the basic price, we will reduce the price or waive the fee completely depending on your situation)

If chosen to participate in the workshop, please check in with your university or employer to see if they can support your participation in the Troublemakers Class of 2020. Students: Please also inquire to see if you can receive credits for your participation. We’re keen to be in dialogue with your institution, and are happy to provide them with any information that they might ask for.

Payment goes towards hiring guest tutors outside of Futuress, and contributes partially to tutor hours and the labor of structuring, organizing, managing, and running the workshop. In return for the lower workshop costs, Futuress asks for one-time, non-exclusive digital publishing rights to the article you will produce in the course of this workshop. The copyright to the articles you write will of course stay with you. Currently, Futuress does not have a paywall, but if it ever does, we will not monetize your articles and they will remain freely accessible.


The workshop is led by Futuress co-founders Nina Paim, Corin Gisel, and Madeleine Morley, alongside Dr. Luiza Prado de O. Martins.