Co-up update from Nor – Come to our live round table this Thursday!

Co-up update from Nor – Come to our live round table this Thursday!

Hi all!
It’s been a quiet but productive year on the Nor front so far — after a group of you pitched in on an ambitious grant application back in January (still waiting to hear on that one, but we put in an amazing pitch), we’ve been beavering away in the background on a few big projects, including our collaboration with the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and generally getting our organisational house in order. I’ll be in touch soon with some updates on how we hope to improve how Nor operates as a community (which will include ditching Discord and embracing some more asynchronous old school modes of internet collab), but meantime, two things we wanted you to know about.
— Patrick

Live round table this Thursday: Who can afford to be critical?

Damian Teo — creator of Postcapitalist Designers Fight Club and a good friend of Nor who previously wrote this great article for us inspired into meming by Afonso Matos's Who Can Afford to be Critical and Silvio Lorusso's What Design Can't Do— asked for our help putting together a round table grappling with the question of what a meaningful, engaged, and purposeful career in design can and should look like when the world’s in polycrisis but you need to put food on the table. The ask: Is it possible for us to go to work every day to critically design our way into a more just, less crisis-ridden future?

This Thursday, June 6, at 10.30am Toronto time, 3.30pm London, in collaboration with Service Lab London and the UAL Research Society, we’re going to hold a casual live conversation moderated by me, Patrick Pittman, and featuring Damien and Nor’s Joel Derksen along with Silvia Grimaldi, Kevin Yuen Kit Lo, Valeska Mangel and Mandish Kalsi.

Please come along if you’re able! It’s free, you just need to pre-register at this here link:

Who Can Afford to be Critical? · Luma
The world is in polycrisis, and designers are being asked to put the tools of our trade to ethical and critical purpose — to address social, political and…

Your help building a philosophy of cataloguing

While we’re (slowly, as real life continues in the foreground) making good progress in bringing the next iteration of the archive into digital being, we’d love to put a group of you to work taking a step back to ask some deeper questions about how we’re doing it. Right now, we’re looking for a few volunteers to sign up for a relatively open-ended research project to help us develop a philosophy of cataloguing that will inform both future technical decision making, and how we set priorities in growing and fixing the archive from here.

What we want to explore:

  • What is the information architecture and metadata strategy that is appropriate for the decolonized archive of the present but also the future?
  • What taxonomies of information are important for us to collect? What is excluded, and why?
  • What historical, experimental, and hypothetical frameworks can we use to build out our own metadata - while also challenging and questioning traditional assumptions; setting us up as a museum, as an archive?
  • How do we create a data bank of Canadian material culture and history that doesn't reinforce the problematic ways of thinking that brought us here?

Are you interested in contributing to this conversation, either through bringing your own knowledge and opinions, or offering some time for desk research and exploration of what’s going on out there beyond what we can see? If so, hit me up by reply email and I can give you more details on how it would work. We wouldn’t be asking for a huge amount of your time, but if you’re into it, we’d love to have you, and will be setting up some more structured channels for this work to actually now take place.

That’s it for now. Please do come along on Thursday if you’re able and it’s of interest! Otherwise, I’d love to hear from you regardless.

All the best from foggy foggy Newfoundland on a miserable June day, just exactly as it should be,


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