offscreen

Category

Social Design

Skills

  • Design entrepreneurship
  • Project management
  • Problem-oriented design
  • Design ethics
  • Design Research

offscreen is a non-profit association that combines design and photography with social projects. It is organized as a collective between me and the photographer Susanne Keller.

Our goal is to promote intercultural dialogue and build visual literacy skills. In this way we want to offer an alternative to a medial narrative about marginalized social groups.


Challenge

This project idea aims to address pictures of social groups that have little say about their representation in public. The study of identities shown in media communications, such as journalism, charity advertisements and travel reports, revealed discriminatory narratives. These include, for example, represented individuals from foreign countries or marginalised groups. The critique led to the question of how an ethical design process can change the narratives of communication design to reflect different realities better?

Participatory photography has emerged as a best practice method of image creation. The methodology promises that images are not created about, but with the people depicted and thus consciously incorporate their point of view. The process reduces unequal power positions in storytelling and prevents biased, discriminatory reporting.

Solution

offscreen aims to build competences for inclusive and ethical visual storytelling by working in collaboration with various groups of society.

The key activity is the implementation of participatory photography workshops for visual storytelling. It starts as a movement for projects in which participation is a fundamental pillar to design visual formats and continues towards a community of ethical visual storytellers.

The participatory photography workshops follow the guidelines of Photovoice as taught by an NGO with the same name in London. The services are aimed at organisations, companies and fundraising agencies.

  • To promote intercultural dialogue through a participatory photography project.
  • Counteracting mutual prejudices and generalisations through collaboration.
  • Encourage creative expression and support the participants to report on topics of their own choice. In this way we want to offer an alternative to a medial narrative about marginalized social groups.
  • The offscreen project is my MA Design Master Thesis, defended in 2020 at Bern University of the Arts HKB.


    Community center Grünau

    This project has been held with a group of migrant women living in the neighborhood of Grünau in Zurich. The first part of the workshop consisted of a photo dialogue, intending to get to know each other better through the conversation with pictures. In the second part, we encouraged the participants to try out creative ideas by giving them some tips and inspiration for taking pictures at photo stops.

    The results of the workshop were exhibited during a neighborhood party.

    The photographs taken by the workshop participants Adriana, Amina, Barbara, Golsah, Khadeeja, Mafuhja, Sadia and Zeynep