Imagining Otherwise encompasses current and past projects at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, and strives toward socially transformative educational and design practices and more equitable futures.
The project started in October 2018, against the backdrop of massive feminist mobilizations, such as NiUnaMenos, Women's March, and Feminist Strike; and the rising demands from the students for design education that counters patriarchal-colonial narratives. Inspired by the research and activism of Palestinian design educator and researcher Danah Abdulla, we joined forces to start imagining design otherwise—a practice that is critical, situated, reflexive, and socially transformative.
Believing in the transformative potential of design and echoing Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar's words, we began asking ourselves: “How can design be infused with a more explicit sense of politics?” How can we participate in the recentering of design education by specifically situating it in relation to structures of inequality, sexism, racism, and colonialism? And how can we disrupt hegemonic epistemologies, ontologies, and systems from within a Eurocentric institution, and strive toward more equitable, pluralistic futures?
On this website, you can delve into different projects realized since 2018. They do not attempt to answer the aforementioned questions, nor to provide universally replicable solutions. Instead, they invite you to open your mind to alternatives, and to open up spaces of potential for change—as expressed by feminist activist and writer bell hooks: “a space where there is unlimited access to the pleasure and power of knowing, where transformation is possible.”
Co-directors: Mayar El-Bakry, Maya Ober and Laura Pregger
Imagining Otherwise was co-conceived by Maya Ober and Laura Pregger. In 2019, Mayar El-Bakry joined the team to co-curate Educating Otherwise, a continuing education program.
PROF. DR. JÖRG WIESEL Habilitation 2007 by the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Free University of Berlin; 2005-2010/11 Visiting Professor at the Institute for Theatre Studies at the Free University of Berlin; doctorate with a thesis on theatre and monarchy in the 19th century (Amerbach Prize of the University of Basel 2001); co-founder of the Working Group for the Study of Racism and Xenophobia (Ev. Studienwerk Villigst and Federal Ministry of Education and Research/Bonn); lecturer, research assistant, assistant and lecturer at the universities and colleges in Kiel, Giessen (Institute for Applied Theatre Studies), Basel, Zurich and at the FU Berlin; 1986-1988 assistant director at the Schauspiel Dortmund; 1984-91 studied theatre studies, German language and literature and psychology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. Core member of ImpulsWerkstatt 2025.