Talk with Jules Sturm gave us fruitful moments of mind blowing, as well as inspirations of how to develop our ideas. Dr. Jules Sturm is research associate in the cluster Art Education in the field of “art/istic teaching.” Jules is also an independent researcher and lecturer at Sandberg Institute and Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. He was assistant professor for literary theory and cultural analysis at the University of Amsterdam, and has left academia to pursue more self-organized research projects around the theme of embodied theories.
During the conversation with Jules, he pointed out the importance of translating feminist theory into a universal language in design environments, not as a token, but by examining it more closely and seeking possible connections between theory and design practice. He gave us a brief explanation of the historical origins of intersectionality and its implications, as well as highlighting the complexities behind the factors that create inequality and how justice works. Moreover, this complexity prompts us to reflect on how, in our own project, we implant our biases and directly influence our thoughts and actions, with all the resulting consequences and decisions.
Furthermore, by talking about the historical implications of the word “Queer”, Jules encouraged us to shed the definition of design as “better” or ”more beautiful” solution for the hassles of reality. Think of design as something that embodies the difficult, and on that basis, shift the goal of design from “solution” to “ breaker”: to ask difficult questions and embrace our actual abnormalities in order to avoid normalization.
After a momentary deliberation on the theory of “textilic design” proposed by Tim Ingold, Jules inspired us to incorporate the textilic approach into our designs by engaging people through certain bodily/emotional interactions. At the end of the talk, he emphasized and redefined the facets of “vulnerability” and “disability”. We are all different, our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, exist in reality in various forms. These differences should be seen. Moreover, in contrast to the abnormalities, the symmetrical and normative defaults are not natural, but rather artificial in reality.