Mio Kojima is a German-Japanese designer, researcher, and educator focused on collaborative, intersectional, feminist, and decolonial approaches to creating and sharing knowledge. From education to publishing and curating, she understands her work as a space-making practice centering community and exchange.


Ongoing
Co-director
Since March 2021

Futuress is a hybrid between a learning community and a publishing platform with a mission to radically democratize design education and amplify marginalized voices. We host fellowship programs, organize lectures and panel discussions, curate exhibitions, and publish texts at the intersection of feminism, design, and politics!

Mentor
Since March 2021

The Make Your School Hackdays are a workshop program to teach critical thinking and hands-on coding skills. Together with the kids, we closely look at their school environment and ask: What do you wish? What needs to change? How can you have an impact? The kids work in small groups within three days to build prototypes that manifest their proposals.



Past involvement
Mentor
March 2023–March 2024

The Digital Sparks are interdisciplinary online workshops that enable teenagers to work collaboratively on socio-politically pressing topics. Over several days, students are guided through topics such as AI and discrimination, mental health, or sustainability and supported in their journey from research to creative communication of their findings—from podcasts, speculative letters, videos, and more.

Member
November 2022–January 2024

For a decade, various citizen initiatives have been fueling public discussion about the future of the city hall block in Berlin Kreuzberg and have since turned it into a model project of cooperative, community-oriented urban development.
As one of these initiatives, Bündis Feuer & Flamme creates community happenings through an open ceramics meet-up and cooking events.

Latest Update: Apr 2, 2024

Education,
Workshops
The End of Modernist Men
Seminar | external lecturer
Berlin International University of Applied Sciences (DE)
with Barbora Demovič
April-June 2024

What is considered “good design”? Who decides? And why? Ideas about “good design” are often determined by written history, “iconic” designers, schools, and rule makers—usually represented by a privileged few. This affects our aesthetic preferences and perception of our own work—its quality and relevance.
This seminar looks beyond the concept of “good design” and engages with visual practices that break the rules and offer diverse perspectives on the hierarchical distinctions between craft and design, as well as on gender, race/ethnicity, class, ableism, and other subjects susceptible to discrimination. Over the course of 10 weks, the seminar reflects on how these practices challenge norms and, in turn, how norms challenge them.

Walking Less Trodden Paths—Practicing Sensual Worlds is a collection of narratives, interventions, prompts, and exercises to practice multifold ways of relating to our environment, fellow living beings, and our own bodyminds, to change perspective, listen closely, and move intentionally. Centering curiosity and exploring sensuality, they are meant to deepen our attention and create space for a togetherness that counters logics of productivity, consumption, and functionalism.

Partly departing from graduation projects, these texts have been shown first within the Open House at the Basel Academy of Art and Design, Switzerland, in January 2024.
The project’s website is mobile-only to allow movement and attention for our surrounding. To visit the website, please use your mobile device and start exploring.

Workshop
HEAD Geneva (CH)
November 2023

From October 31 to November 2, 2023, a group of 15 students from HEAD Geneva critically examined capitalistic, neo­­liberal, extractivist, and exclusive structures manifested in hegemonic ways of learning, researching, and working together.
Aimed at disrupting the status quo and moving towards the practices of exchange and learning they yearn for, Alexandra, Célia, Elisa, Geneva, Grandee, Matylda, Maxime, Jennate, Lora, Loréleï, Lucy, Paul, Simon, Quentin, and Victoire came up with small collaborative exercises.
Instead of quick fixes and rigid formats, these propositions are rather meant as articulations to be questioned, rephrased, and further developed.

A free pdf with the propositions can be downloaded here.
Cover design by Jennate Laamyem.

Yours truly, xoxo:
a network of relations through letter-writing
Workshop
Etceteras—feminist festival of design and publishing
Casa Comum, Porto (PT)
October 2023

Writing oneself into the world, blurring boundaries between the self and the other, reaching into the future and the past—the circular, messy creation of collectivity. In this workshop, we’ll tap into the feminist tradition of letter-writing as a way of self-expression through relations. What kind of temporal and spatial webs can it create? What relationships do we conjure up when we address someone? What can a response look like? In a row of small letter-writing exercises, we’ll experiment with its format and embrace its intimacies.

A reading group about institutional critique
With Eleonora Toniolo, Mujgan Abdulzade and Neige Sanchez
in collaboration with Air Berlin Alexanderplatz
Gelegenheiten e.V. (DE)
diffrakt | zentrum für theoretische peripherie (DE)
Hopscotch Reading Room (DE)
January—February 2023

In three sessions, the reading group explores the friction between visibility and appropriation by reading and discussing together critical texts about art, cultural and design institutions. The sessions examine how to shift an exploitative act of “looking at” into an intentional practice of “looking with and alongside one another” and ask how to articulate critical thinking within cultural institutions from counter-hegemonic perspectives.

Mapping Marzahn
Workshop
With Paula Erstmann and Yann Colonna
Funded through Berlin Mondiale
Platz Ohne Name, Berlin-Marzahn (DE)
January and February 2023

What marks do we leave in our surroundings, and what imprints do the surroundings leave in us? By molding and tracing objects from the area onto textile and clay, the space was made tangible with other senses. Transferring its patterns into functional objects, the participants created textiles and plates for a communal dinner at a final event.

Mapping Rathausblock
Workshop
With Paula Erstmann and Yann Colonna
Rathausblock Berlin-Kreuzberg (DE)
October 2022

The Rathausblock in Kreuzberg is currently in a phase of transition. After community-based initiatives campaigned against the sale of the area to investors, the Rathausblock is in the midst of a cooperative urban development process. In this period of change, we ask ourselves: how do we want to remember this area, and how can we witness the transformation? How can we capture the processual? In Mapping Rathausblock, tracing the area’s surfaces and structures, the act of transformation and translation becomes a performative act of remembrance and witnessing.

Our Neighborhood, Our Stories
Course for 7th-graders at Ferdinand-Freiligrath-Schule Berlin (DE)
August—November 2022

What places are in the neighborhood, and how can they be told about? How do they smell? What do we hear? And which people do we meet? From cyanotype to comics and short stories, the course approached different places and their peculiarities.

The Look Of Us: A workshop to encourage self-expression and positioning
Workshop
With Hanna Müller
Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (DE)
Organized by the Community Toolkit initiative
April 2021

How can we express and externalize our opinions and personalities playfully, encoded or directly, loudly or timidly? How can we reflect on ourselves, position ourselves and let others participate in this process? How can we stand up for values, embrace our weaknesses, and allow for dreaming?
The Look Of Us is a framework for finding one's voice through the process of designing.


Texts,
Research

“First, Then... Repeat” is a collection of methods and aspects of collective learning and sharing practices across different localities, timelines, and experiences.
“Across Distance and Difference” explores the possibilities and challenges of (re)connecting despite different life situations, rhythms, and localities. With two prompts and an interview, it looks for rituals and playful approaches to giving time and space for personally meaningful things in a world strongly shaped by time precarity.

“Listen To Me All Around You:” Listening Practices In The Digital
Interview with Francisca Khamis Giacoman and Tina Omayemi Reden
November 2022: Futuress.org

The interview with artists and designers Francisca Khamis Giacoman and Tina Omayemi Reden discusses the bodily aspects of video calls, the notion of “one digital space,” and how digital communication has changed since COVID-19.

Zwischen Raum und Zeit: Ein Gespräch über Körperlichkeit in Digitaler Kommunikation
Interview by Simon Knebl
In Hopscotch Magazine
June 2022: Published on the occasion of HfG Graduates 21/22

How can we appropriate digital spaces and engage with them in a self-determined and emancipatory way? The conversation gives insights into the research project Hybrid Encounters/In Close Distance (see below). It shares experiences made during the performative investigation in the second part of the project and examines conventions and restrictions of digital communication.

Design: lob.tf and Bárbara Acevedo Strange
Edited by Lena Reitschuster

Hybrid Encounters/In Close Distance: On Acts Of Listening and Speaking in Hybrid Spaces
February 2022
Supervised by Michael Kryenbuehl, James Langdon, and Ivan Weiss

In two parts, the work investigates corporeality in digital communication such as video calls, phone calls and voice messages.
The first part, Hybrid Encounters, consists of interviews with performers and somatic coaches Roni Katz, Julia Bonn, Francisca Khamis Giacoman, and Tina Reden. The conversations share how their workshop formats were translated into a digital setting and examine different aspects of listening and speaking.
The second part, In Close Distance, is dedicated to the performative dialogue format Between Us by performer and choreographer Roni Katz. Together with the artist, three different digital settings were investigated in terms of texture, intimacy, and corporeality. Recordings of the performative investigations were shown as a 6-channel sound installation in the atrium of the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design in February 2022.
Excerpts of the first part can be read here.

E for Embracing Differences
With Hanna Müller
In Glossary of Undisciplined Design
May 2021: Spector Books, Leipzig

The “Glossary of Undisciplined Design” looks into undisciplinarity as a feminist unpacking of the field of graphic design, dogmatic rules, discriminatory structures, and a particularly one-sided canon. Carried by a decidedly fragmentary and collective backbone, the GUD handbook combines various theories and narratives of varying densities—from visual essays, hands-on experiments, interviews, or advertorials, to poems, speculative tales, and academic writing.
“E for Embracing Differences” is an excerpt of the project “I don’t know. Are you sure?”—an experiment on embracing frictions and disagreement when working together.
Read more about the project below.

C for Collective Uncertainties
With Hanna Müller, Juliana Vargas Zapata, and Severin Geissler
In Glossary of Undisciplined Design
May 2021: Spector Books, Leipzig

C for Collective Uncertainties is an excerpt of the conversation “I don’t know. Me neither” held at the Glossary of Undisciplined Design Symposium in February 2020. While giving insights into the projects F for Failing Queerly, P for Professional Amateur, and E for Embracing Differences—all published in the Glossary of Undisciplined Design—, the conversation dives into the underrepresented surprises of failure, the joys of amateurism, and the power of redefining weakness.

A Self in Relation: Tender rituals and joyful interventions in the face of loneliness.
March 2021: Futuress.org.

19 tender rituals, joyful interventions and narratives in the face of loneliness—developed by various artists, designers and writers as an invitation to experiment and engage with broader forms of relationships and notions of the self.
Check out all 19 approaches on the website and read the text on Futuress.org.

In Feminist Findings
July 2020: Futuress.org

Feminist Findings presents stories on the labor, loves, networks, hierarchies, friendships, fall-outs, struggles, victories, economics, designs, and daily lives of womxn in the past, working out what it might mean to organize a feminist praxis.
The Courage To Take Space sifts through the German 70s feminist magazine Courage. Mapping women's cafes, pubs, and feminist bookstores listed in the classified ads, the texts asks: Where did these spaces go, and how has the feminist movement changed to this day?
Read the whole text on Futuress.org

I don’t know. Are you sure?
With Hanna Müller
Supervised by Anja Kaiser and Rebecca Stephany

I don’t know. Are you sure? searches for a way of working together that actively engages with friction and appreciates differences instead of seeking the comforts of compromise and middle ground. The collection of fifteen collaborative methods is accompanied by short interviews reflecting on topics such as conflict, sharing skills and resources, and the resilience.
A free pdf can be downloaded here.


Talks,
Exhibitions
Recipes for Connecting
Group Exhibition
A-Z Berlin, GER
Nov 23 – Dec 14, 2023

Recipes for Connecting is a project by the A—Z Collective, featuring “recipe” submissions from an international group of creatives, community builders, kids-at-heart, collectives, educators, and other cohorts who believe in the power of a simple idea to bring people closer together.
These “recipes” illustrate many different methods of connecting – offering practical social tools, humorous prompts, gentle reminders, alternative structures of communication, and scrumptious meals. Together they create a patchwork of insights into “connecting” on individual, interpersonal, human, non-human, and collective levels.
In the exhibition, over 60 different “recipes” pages are on display and available for purchase. Each visitor is invited to assemble chosen pages as they please, self-bind on-site, and create a personalized compendium. Visitors are also invited to contribute their own “recipes.”

Demokratie im Prozess: Visionen für Morgen | Democracy in Process: Visions for Tomorrow
Panel Discussion with Matthias Wagner K and Anna Scheuermann
Summer School Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, GER
August 2023

How can we collectively transform our society? Challenges and perspectives for an active and inclusive co-creation of democracy.

Demokratisches Design? Zwischen Realen Dystopien und Aktiven Utopien | Democratic Design? Between Real Dystopia and Active Utopia
The What, How, Where, When, and Who: Micropolitics of Design Education
Workshop-lecture at the A New School, A Summer School, Hohenlockstedt, GER
August 2023

To incorporate intersectional feminist values into design teaching and move toward a more equitable teaching environment, we must embrace change as an ongoing and never-ending journey. This talk addressed the need to start with daily practices and values rather than indulging in grand gestures.
A New School, A Summer School was organized by Destina Atasayar, Katharina Brenner, Lu Herbst, Lucie Jo Knilli, Charlotte Perka, and Lioba Wachtel.

Intersectional Feminist Approaches to Design Education
Lecture at the Respekt & Revolte 2.0 symposium, Peter Behrens School of Arts, Düsseldorf, GER
April 2023

How can we rethink education with and about design to break normative and exclusive structures from school education to academia? Covering critical design practices, emancipatory learning experiences, and the democratization of design education, the lecture focused on the daily practices of feminist and intersectional values and which challenges we face as educators and learners within a world shaped by neoliberal, individualistic, and capitalistic systems.
The symposium was initiated by Lia Bach, Lea Meister, Ida Heil, Jana Ollech, Lukas Milkereit, Lea Lee, Laura Sistig und Eli Alaimo Di Loro.

(Im)possibilities of Critical Design Practices
Panel Discussion with Imad Gebrayel and Golnar Kat Rahmani
Belle Room Talks, Kunsthochschule Weissensee Berlin, GER October 2022

Belle Room is a discussion space within which intersectional perspectives on the design industry are presented and reflected. It asks: What do queer-feminist, decolonial, and anti-classist practices look like, both within and against the design economy? The format aims to highlight the entanglements between design and systems of oppression and discuss alternative practices that consider and contest power structures.
Initiated by Quang Nguyen at Kunsthochschule Weissensee Berlin.

The Power of Identity
Lecture with Mujgan Abdulzade
Weltformat Festival Luzern, CH
October 2021

From a feminist perspective, the personal, the political, and the professional are inseparable. At the 2021 Weltformat Festival, which centered on the theme of identity, we talked about how this interweaving of seemingly separate realms becomes visible in Futuress’ structures: why schedules are political, how Futuress questions the notion of the objective, and how it creates space for a new design canon. The lecture was accompanied by video statements by the Futuress community members Heba Daghistani, Noemi Parisi, and Sherine Salla.

I don’t know. Me neither.
A reenacted conversation with Hanna Müller, Juliana Vargas Zapata, and Severin Geissler
Glossary of Undisciplined Design Symposium
Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, GER
February 2020

Vulnerabilities are part or are every day realities but are habitually hidden away or smoothed over in professional contexts. While talking about the projects F for Failing Queerly, P for Professional Amateur, and E for Embracing Differences, the conversation aimed at sharing vulnerabilities to find common ground and solidarity.

Feminist Findings
Group Exhibition
A-Z Berlin, GER
Jul 30 – Sep 24, 2020

Feminist Findings showcased the joint research of the L.i.P. Collective—the very first Futuress fellowship. Spread over four continents and many time zones, 23 women and non-binary people connected through the beams of their computer screens to dig through digital archives, searching for the missing histories of feminist journals, magazines, zines, newspapers, and newsletters. A wunderkammer brimming with photographs, artefacts, logos, magazines, quotes, excerpts, resources, pages, footnotes, and digressions, Feminist Findings is a messy, knotted web manifesting its own collective research process.
The show has been curated by Eliot Gisel, Madeleine Morley, and Nina Paim.

Latest Update: December 2023