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#Educators In Correspondence

Design as Mediation: On the Everyday Politics of Space-Making Practices

June 15, 2024 | 5:30 pm CEST | Messe Basel | free | with Habib Asfar and Mara Züst from the Mini-Zine-Library | co-organized with the Swiss Design Awards


Design as Mediation: On the Everyday Politics of Space-Making Practices

In this conversation, mediators Habib Asfar and Mara Züst discuss how to question power structures and challenge hegemonic notions of value and knowledge in workshopping and publishing.

Within artistic and designerly mediating practices, workshop formats have become a crucial space for empowerment and criticality. Rather than teaching a specific set of skills, workshops have increasingly become a practice to question hegemonic ways of learning, experiencing, and coming together. In this panel conversation, Habib Asfar and Mara Züst discuss how they step back from their professionally education rooted in Western-elitist thinking and highlight the workshop as a space to question existing power structures.

Giving insight into their community art project Mini-Zine-Library and their individual practices in health, publishing, and exhibition-making, Habib and Mara share how the acts of mediation, facilitation, organizing, and publishing are inherently political. From building relationships with workshop participants and implementing care in collaborations, to finding your own voice and handing over authorship, Habib and Mara discuss how they queer linear learning paths and break hegemonic notions of what is considered as valued knowledge.

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Habib Asfar (he/none) is a Swiss/Pakistani relational artist and poet who belongs nowhere really and everywhere. Initially trained as a medical doctor, he specializes in public health and health management. He also holds a Masters in Expressive Arts (Coaching, Consulting and Education) and Fine Arts (Art in Public Sphere). He is the founder of the Center of Arts-based Methodologies and Wellbeing (Karachi, Pakistan) and a teaching member at Step Ahead, Berlin, Germany. His artistic vision is creating safe spaces where beauty is celebrated. He likes to make pretty things and write poetry, and can talk to trees and rivers when they allow. He worships Mother Goddess.

Mara Züst (she/her) is an artist, cultural pedagogue, and researcher. She works for artasfoundation at the Centre for Art and Peacebuilding at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in Switzerland, and is in charge of the estate of the artist Andreas Züst and the Bibliothek Andreas Züst. Her greatest passions are developing tools with a feminist twist in the field of cultural pedagogy incorporating publishing as collective working modes, such as the Mini-Zine-Library or Chapakhana Archive, 2022 in Bangladesh and Switzerland. Furthermore, she loves to publish books combining research, text, and images in a unique design (e.g. Denn wenn Chloe Olivia mag …, 2022, Kolkata—City of Print, 2019; Doris Stauffer. A Monograph, 2015).

The Mini-Zine-Library is a community art project that aims to encompass diverse languages, cultures, and perspectives through art-making workshops and publishing. In various contexts and locations, it creates zines and wall newspapers—simple homemade publications in different shapes and sizes with people of all ages on subjects related to their specific contexts and interests. The workshops are essentially resources-oriented, meaning that they are specifically designed for participants to be able to identify their internal and external resources through the creative process, play, and sharing. The Mini-Zine-Library is a project by Habib Afsar, Mara Züst, and Dominik Bachmann.


Event Information

This event is co-organized with the Federal Office of Culture’s 2024 Swiss Design Awards.

Prior to the panel discussion, at 1:30 pm CEST, the open group conversation format “Let’s Talk About Workshopping” will take place within the Swiss Design Awards exhibition. “Let’s Talk” will be co-moderated with Mara Züst and Habib Asfar, and discuss the topic of creating space for others within workshop formats in an intimate group conversation.

This event will not be recorded.

Language: English

Address: Swiss Design Awards exhibition, Halle 1.1, Messe Basel, Messepl. 10, 4005 Basel, Switzerland

Accessibility: The venue will be wheelchair-accessible.


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