“Conflictual Harmony – an intervention philosophy for systems change” was produced in 2018, in two parts, as my final thesis project in the MFA program in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons School of Design in New York.
Conflictual Harmony is a theory of change, as well as a set of principles, capacities and processes, articulated to enable systems analysis, innovation and creativity across disciplinary, cultural and social barriers. It is rooted in the practice of Johanna Tysk, and draws from almost ten years of experience at the intersection of design, art and grassroots community innovation.
At the heart of the Conflictual Harmony framework, is a desire to open up “third spaces” between different worlds, where opposing elements can play, dissolve, merge, shift meaning, transform into “new worlds”, or new systems. To open up this space, we pay particular attention to roles, mindsets, identities and power dynamics, and also highlight the relationship between the self and the systems we are intervening in. The purpose to contribute to a world and a social order that moves with its people, its environment, and its own inner potential for life.
Download the entire framework, with case studies from 2010-2017, here.
Download the thesis book, going deeper into process, context and the specific case study of “Love/Fuck Sweden”, here.
“The Path to Conflictual Harmony – a dialogue in the conjunction point of art, design and the social sphere” was written in 2015 as part of the independent course Organising Discourse at Konstfack in Stockholm.
It was the first articulation and exploration of the concept “Conflictual Harmony” – later developed into the creative-strategic framework presented above.
The publication first explores collaboration across disciplinary perspectives through giving voice to my own inner transdisciplinarity*, illustrated by the characters Jo, the artist, Hanna, the designer, and Tysk, the community organizer. By each describing two case studies of participatory mural art from their differing viewpoints, they together give life to the concept of “conflictual harmony,” where separate skills, several modes of thinking and sometimes conflicting agendas operate to create a sum larger than its parts.
The interview with Jo, Hanna and Tysk are followed by conversations with non-profit strategist Ihsan Kellecioglu, designer Pomme van Hoff, art/design activist and journalist Gunilla Lundahl, artists Danielle Deadwyler, Oscar Lara and Hanna Lundborg, and professors and scholars in Visual Learning Ulla Lind & Anette Göthlund. In each conversation, we strive to link the concept of “conflictual harmony” to the specific contexts and practices of my conversation partners, exploring what a space of conflictual harmony might be, but also discussing specific strategies for working towards it.
Download the publication here.
*Transdisciplinarity refers to a holistic approach to problem-solving, locating links within a total system. It can be practiced through a group of people of various professional and social backgrounds coming together to work towards a common aim. It can also refer to a single practitioner using thought systems and methods from several disciplines in order to rise above the inherent restrictions within single disciplines, and open up to new ways of seeing and doing, on an individual, collective or political level.
MFA Transdisciplinary Design
Emphasizing collaborative design-led research and a systems-oriented approach to social innovation and service design, Parsons’ MFA in Transdisciplinary Design program serves as an academic laboratory in New York City for graduate students seeking to define the next phase of design practice globally. It was created for designers interested in developing ideas, tools, and working methods to address pressing social issues and the complex challenges of a global culture.
An independent postgraduate course at Konstfack in Stockholm, lead by curator Magnus Ericson. This course explored and developed discursive platforms within the fields of arts, crafts, design and architecture, inviting in a multi-disciplinary group of professionals.