In the light of designing for all, language is one of the practices by which current power relations are established and sustained. As a society, we still use ableist, colonial, transphobic, homophobic, and gender-unequal language in our daily speech and writing. Journalists have an additional responsibility to lead the way in deconstructing and updating language, and OneWorld is one of the media platforms working towards new standards by making their learning processes transparent to inspire others. In their DCFA Fellowship, Seada Nourhussen and John Olivieira of OneWorld will invite designers and other experts to expose the design flaws in journalism and explore solutions and practical changes to redesign it. Why is an ongoing conversation on the use of language and its exclusionary practice necessary? And how can you introduce such information in the best possible way?
Zaïre Krieger is a poet, journalist and spoken word-artist based in Rotterdam. Apart from finishing an MA in International Public Law (University of Tilburg), she is currently in the middle of translating Amanda Gorman’s poetry collection (Uitgeverij Meulenhoff and Uitgeverij Wilden Haren). In the fall of 2021, her translation of ‘The Hill We Climb’, which Gorman performed during the inauguration of President Biden, was published already. In 2019, Zaïre won a SPOKEN Award as ‘one of the most inspiring word artists of that moment’ and in her poetry, journalism and activism she continues to be a much-valued voice on justice and love.
Samantha Asumadu is a crisis campaigner, radical organiser, writer, former documentary filmmaker and breaking news reporter. She founded Media Diversified in 2013 as a vehicle to foreground the voices of people of different ethnicities all over the world and campaign on issues she and others cared about that weren’t being addressed. She has written for the Guardian, Telegraph, Open Democracy, Black Ballad, Media Diversified, Ceasefire Magazine and New Statesman. Her decades long commitment to grassroots activism led to her campaigning about women’s representation in Theatre, child abuse in war zones, media equity, the Nationality and Borders Bill, Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) and Sickle cell anemia. As a journalist she was based in East Africa, where she covered stories such as the Kampala bombings of 2010 for news outlets including CNN, Deutsche Welle and Sky News. Currently, Samantha has almost finished writing her first book ‘The Wannabe – At the centre of this unconventional memoir is a celebration of the white, brown and black working classes. The unsung heroes and the dirtbags’.
Shivant Jhagroe is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Administration (Leiden University). In his PhD research (Erasmus University Rotterdam) he studied how different sustainability discourses and practices transform power relations in the city. As a post-doctoral researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology, he then explored social and political aspects of using big data and algorithms in renewable energy systems. His current research centers around marginalised and non-human actors in politics and policy, especially in the fields of ecology and (digital) technology. With his work, he highlights exploitative and exclusionary aspects of prevailing sustainability discourses, while developing perspectives towards radically sustainable and just futures.
Seada Nourhussen is the editor-in-chief of OneWorld. In the past she worked as a columnist, domestic reporter and Africa editor at Trouw. She previously also worked as a cultural editor at Elsevier and was an economics and arts editor at De Volkskrant. She wrote the book ‘Bloedmobieltjes, Coltan in Congo’ (KIT, 2011), co-authored the collections WTF?! Growing up after September 11 (Prometheus, 2011), Away from Babylon (August, 2008), Zwart (Atlas Contact, 2018) and Afro-European literature in the Low Countries. Through her work and as a panelist or leader of conversations, she plays an active role in the portrayal of Africa and anti-racism. She is currently also working on a new book.
During his career, John Olivieira has always been involved with entrepreneurship, advising, and building in the fields of strategy, marketing, and commerce. As former CEO of PubliekeOmroep Amsterdam (public broadcast organization Amsterdam), in 2019 and 2020 he has led the channel AT5 & Salto during the broadcast-concession process. Prior, he has been active on management level for six years at Sanoma, one of the leading media companies in Europe. John is currently chairman of the board of the European anti-discrimination organization FARE, a European social inclusion network associated with UEFA, board member of youth platform Funx, member of the Dutch National Council for Culture, a body established by law to advise the Dutch Government and Parliament on the arts, culture and media and he is publisher of Dutch journalistic platform OneWorld which explains the connections between themes sustainability, human rights and identity.
Duurzaamheid is in. Maar ‘de groene missie’ is volgens onderzoeker Shivant Jhagroe een kapitalistische missie. “Zonder systeemverandering blijft het lifestyle voor the happy few.”
Taal bestaat uit meer dan woorden. Het vormt onze waarneming en constructie van de realiteit. Omdat OneWorld streeft naar een eerlijke en duurzame wereld, nemen we ons taalgebruik onder de loep.
We asked 10 writers for their opinion on the classifications and terminology used to describe people. We stressed there was no right or wrong answer. Below are their answers.