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May 01, 2019

Privilege by Design

Milena Radzikowska RGD
Milena Radzikowska presenting on stage

About this video


Privilege, as we are beginning to understand it today, is defined as a set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific group. Societies grant automatic benefits to certain individuals or groups based on specific aspects of their identity. Milena asserts that privilege is an important concern for designers and design educators, and shares several cases aimed at (1) challenging design privilege-defined perception of user-centred design; (2) understanding design impact on the physical, social and emotional well-being of marginalized peoples; and (3) interrogates our own reactions, biases and blind spots so we can better understand ourselves and work towards a more critical and reflective design practice.

Milena Radzikowska RGD

Mount Royal University

My work contrasts design thinking situated within engineering and computing science with one that has its grounding in humanities-based praxis. My research is functionally feminist, and I’m currently working on such “wicked” design problems as marginalization through data display and reconciliation in post-conflict zones.

I’ve published and presented extensively on data visualization, aesthetics, interaction design, interaction theory, design methods, and design research. And I’m the co-author of Visual Interface Design for Digital Cultural Heritage (Routledge Publishing, 2011) and Design and the Digital Humanities: A Handbook for Mutual Understanding (Intellect, 2022), and the co-editor of Prototyping Across the Disciplines: Designing Better Futures (Intellect, 2021), Networked Feminisms: Activist Assemblies and Digital Practices (Lexington Books, 2021), Digital Performative Assemblies: Feminist Protest and Resistance (Lexington Books, 2023), and Clever Design in Critical Times: Conceptualizing the Callidocene (Lexington Books, coming in 2024).

I’m a Professor and Chair of Information Design in the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies at Mount Royal University and serve on the Executive for the Mount Royal University Faculty Association as the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief of the Prototyping Across Disciplines Journal.