Shortly after I stumbled across your letter, it was announced that slight majority of Turkey voted in a referendum over to abandon the parliamentary system for an executive presidency. Although democracy is commonly defined as the free and equal right of every person to participate by electing representatives of the people, it is usually said to have originated in Ancient Greece when ‘the demos’ organized against their leaders’ abuse of power. Unlike “classical” democracy, which focuses on majority rule, to focus on the awareness of voices that are both central and marginal ‘Deep Democracy’ theory might be worth to examine in an age of ongoing global protests, an economy in crisis and systems of governance.

Democracy in question, it is more important than ever for us to know how to be in conversation on issues that challenge us, that we don’t always know how to begin. Regarding sustainable resilience, John Stuart Mill also pointed out the risks involved in suppressing ideas in his essay: “But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. “ (On Liberty, 1859)

This open letter initiative creates a tool to investigate that without knowing each other in person, could designers share the same concern regardless of geography? Could different approaches to design in response to crisis situations, the act of writing itself, become a form of resistance? With the intensity of the struggles in front of us, it is an opportunity to pause, think deeply and speak out about the impact, internally and externally, to us, our organizations, our communities and our social systems within times of turmoil. Or are we already late to stand up and demonstrate the value of design by doing valuable things?

As the world around us grows increasingly fragmented, it is growing more difficult to sort through all the clamour to get to the heart of what is truly important, to make progress on issues that matter for reflection and re-evaluation. Despite the fact that I don’t know how to ‘take the broken heart’ and ‘make it into art’, far from the light at the end of this tunnel, design can sparkle in a way that you could never have imagined. Believing that the only important thing about design is how it relates to people as Victor Papanek, I profoundly dream our present and future worlds in fair and inclusive ways.

Tugce Karatas


Instanbul, Turkey

Fields of Action
It refers to all the design initiatives that are particularly responsive to the goals of democracy. It may deal with the provision of basic human rights (such as access to food, shelter, health care, and education) and, more in general, with the transition towards a more resilient, fair and sustainable society.

creative entrepreneurship

curating communities

inclusive design

social design