Snakes, Ladders and Tables
Present Tense: Wāhine Toi Aotearoa
Laurel Projects, Dunedin, 2 – 23 August 2019

To record the current landscape of women in design and give visibility to the unsung diversity of Aotearoa design, Designers Speak (Up) made an open call to all designers, artists and educators from the Directory of Women* Designers to design a poster, using the medium to explore and address any issue social, cultural, or political issue of their choice. Present Tense: Wāhine Toi Aotearoa is a travelling exhibition that was launched in May 2019 at RAMP Gallery, Kirikiriroa, with more than 70 posters presented in various forms — from printed to projected to published online. This iteration of the exhibition at Dunedin artist-run space Laurel also includes a panel discussion, held on Saturday 3 August at 12.30pm.

This text, titled ‘Snakes, Ladders and Tables’, was written for this iteration responds to the project through an (ironic) reading of Sheryl Sandberg’s controversial part feminist manifesto, part self-help and part biography Lean In. Text designed by exhibition organiser Catherine Griffiths.

*Present Tense: Wāhine Toi Aotearoa is an opportunity to give visibility and voice to all women/wāhine/womxn-identifying and non-binary designers to speak up using the poster medium. The project is a space for myriad voices to be heard, supported and championed in the wholehearted, collective way that is the Designers Speak (Up) kaupapa.