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Social Design
A selection of design projects promoting social growth and social justice  


DFV during Covid-19

Covid-19 has brought new challenges for domestic and family violence. There is a large body of work happening at UTS exploring ways that design can address some of these challenges. I have been involved in this work, exploring the experience of children in lock down, and undertaking a literature review of DVF communication within Australian Indigenous communities.     

Where: Design Innovation Research Centre (UTS)

View body of work here   

My Plate, Your Plate

A project that promotes recipe and story exchange between Sydney residents and people who have recently arrived in Australia as refugees or asylum seekers. These groups gathered each week to cook, chat and eat together, audio producer Caitlin Gibson recorded the stories of the people and their food and I’m now co-designing a food cart we can take to festivals, allowing the public to try the recipes and hear the stories of people involved.

Where: An Inner West Council project, at the Community Refugee Welcome Centre

Story and images of co-creating the carts 

Instagram - recipes, stories and pics of making the food carts

The Tapestry Couch Project

A project aiming to shift the stories of refugees and asylum seekers living in Australia. People from these communities were invited to gather each week to design and make a tapestry couch, learning from master Afgahn tapestry artist Sayd Abadali. The process took a ‘Re-authoring Design’ approach (one I'm developing in a PhD) where the experience of designing and making supports people to challenge unproductive narratives that are connected to their lives and incrementally build and enrich alternative stories to live and be known by.

Where: We have built two couches, the first at the Auburn Community Centre, in collaboration with Settlement Services International, the second at the Callan Park Community Refugee Welcome, this project was run by the Inner West Council. Textile artist Jane Theau has also collaborated on both projects. 

Auburn Tapestry Couch

Callan Park Tapestry Couch



The Wilcannia Men’s Hub 

Collaborating with the Wilcannia Men’s group (a group of Barkindji, Quinkan and white fellas) to design and start fitting out a social centre in Wilcannia. The Hub is an independently run space promoting men’s mental health and cultural healing. I worked with the group for two years, exploring ways to bring Re-authoring Design together with local practices of story and making.

Where: A PhD project, in collaboration with the Wilcannia Men’s Group      

Wilcannia Men's Hub

Video Court Appearances

In NSW court appearances are increasingly happening through video link. Making sure these encounters work well means more than a reliable connection, for remote defendants the court atmosphere, rituals and subtle interactions can be lost, and for the judiciary and legal practitioners (even with high levels of training) viewing a remote defendant may influence the way that person is perceived.

AVL Project – developing technical and spatial design recommendations, along with information material to improve interaction and understanding and promote fairer and respectful experiences of justice.

The EAGP project – collaborating with Legal Aid NSW to design practices and spaces for Early Appropriate Guilty Plea case conferencing - new types of challenging legal negotiations that were introduced in 2019.

Where: Designing Out Crime Research Center (UTS)

Intensive Learning Centre - In Kempsy Prison

Collaborating with inmates, teachers and correctional staff to design and construct a learning space in prison. The space supports inmates to engage in an intensive program of numeracy, literacy, ITC, art and vocational training and draws on models of 21st Century learning, Indigenous pedagogy and learning within a therapeutic community. All furniture and buildings were designed to be prefabricated and constructed by inmates in vocational training programs across NSW.     

Where: Designing Out Crime Research Center (UTS)

ILC project information

ILC Wldbsresearch and publications

Wildebeest Workshop

A portable woodworking workshop that promotes DIY culture. The first wagons were built from recycled materials and have been used to teach woodworking to various community groups and build installations at festivals. Now there are free plans available to make your own wagon out of a single sheet of ply - it includes a cutting list, instructions and list of tools needed to set up our own workshop wagon.

Where: An independent project

Wildebeest info

Outing at the Auburn Community Centre

Download plans to make your own Wildebeest

Play up

Designing objects to be used by humour therapists in dementia care. The project began with a performance night exploring the themes of ageing and memory, performers ranging from 6 to 92 yrs old shared music, art, magic and storytelling. This was followed by a two-day workshop that gathered designers, woodworkers and humour therapists around a pile of broken toys and other bits and bobs. During the workshop we created a range of ‘memory aids’ and ‘mini escapes’ (worlds within suitcases) that aimed to stimulate memory, provide tactile magic and offer props for playful performance. 

Where: A collaboration Jean-Paul Bell (a ‘humourmanitarian’), with the Arts Health Institute 

Play Up project info

In Conversation with The Australian Design Centre

Join the DotsWorkshop

Collaborating with a group of designers, artists, performers and other creatives to design, construct and run an arts space in Marrickville. Over 7 years we converted an old sportswear factory into a vibrant creative space with 12 artist studios, gallery, performance space, woodworking workshop, ceramics corner, electronic music room and laneway garden. Over the years we’ve run hundreds of workshops and exhibitions and provided affordable spaces for creatives to experiment, share and develop their practice.

Where: Join The Dots Workshop   

Join The Dots Workshop

Housing for Health  

I spent the first 5 years out of uni working on design projects that that explored the relationship between health and housing in remote Indigenous communities. Particular projects focused on providing basic amenity for families to safely store and cook food, shower, wash clothes, maintain privacy and security and reduce the effects of overcrowding. Image - Yardmaster, reducing the affects of overcrowding in remote communities. Design by Christian Tietz, detailing by Tasman Munro. 

Where: Designlab, with many of the projects linked to Housing for Health  

Housing for health

All work and images Copyright Tasman Munro 2023 unless stated otherwise