The After Monument

In the fall of 2020 our tutors in the Information Design Masters program at Design Academy Eindhoven proposed a loosely collective project focused on the widespread protests in the summer of 2020, in particular the removal of figures memorialized for their roles in racist and colonial activities. Dozens of monuments were removed--mostly Confederate figures--in the United States, some by force, others by local governments. In Europe, the pulling down of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, UK by protesters and the removal of King Leopold II by Antwerp city officials made international news.

While this project began as an assignment, our class felt that these monuments tell a richer narrative in combination rather than in isolation. This planted the seed for a collaborative website designed and built intentionally from the ground, up.  This website was built with only open-source tools and fonts.  The underlying code infrastructure was designed and built so that every designer, regardless of prior technical knowledge, would be able to code their own page.

As one of the team leaders in this project, I was responsible for organisation and the technical aspects of the website. The main challenge lay in the planning and execution of a system of web components that could be re-used across the website’s various pages and be implemented by designers without any prior coding experience. To achieve this goal, I organized various workshops and talks to explain basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript to the other students. Together with 4 of my classmates: Vitor Ferreira Serra, Anda Lupascu, Marina Menéndez-Pidal and Maxine Oosterholt, we created a complex system of over 40 different web components and four templates.

Our class became very passionate about the project, the collection of individual stories and the design and development of the page. Eventually the project started a discussion that far exceeded our expectations and has been presented in form of a panel discussion at the Dutch Design Week 2021 in Eindhoven, N