Designing Reintegration with Prisoners: The Limits of a Design Process with Women from the San Diego Prison of Cartagena of Indias, Colombia

By Estelle Vanwambeke and James Blackburn.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 23, 2015 $US5.00

This article describes a process of social design held in 2013 between 30 women prisoners from the San Diego prison of the city of Cartagena, Colombia, and a team of 23 students of industrial design from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, in the framework of the implementation of the project “Popular design, productive lines and peace building”. The purpose of the article is to show the limits of a social design process which claims to have the capacity to emancipate female Afro-Colombian prisoners. The article begins by building a conceptual framework centred on concepts of violence, participation, gender and power that are rarely studied in design curricula. The article argues that for design students to achieve effective emancipatory processes of social change it is important to understand these concepts. It is seen that while the tools used in this design process succeeded in improving the design of hand-made crochet and jewel craft products and their position in the value chain, the process would have resulted in more sustainable results by involving a wider range of actors, including prison authorities and actors involved in marketing and sales.

Keywords: Social Design, Participative Methods, Peace Building, Social Innovation

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 9, Issue 4, December, 2015, pp.21-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 23, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 770.309KB)).

Prof. Estelle Vanwambeke

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Dr. James Blackburn

Country Director, Programmes, HelpAge International, Bogota, Cundinamarca, Colombia