Growing Masculinities: Speculation, Reflexivity, and Masculine Spaces

This project, a feminist-influenced exploration of masculinities, aims to create spaces and provide tools for men to contemplate, critique, and contest normative ideals of masculinity and to engage men in the development of feminist blueprints for healthy masculinities.

Using a speculative design methodology and iterative process through a series of pilot workshops, I propose a method that serves to foster reflexive conversations among men on the nature and experience of masculinity. I go on to discuss the potential evolution of this method toward a multi-modal exploration of masculine experience, underpinned by a theoretical understanding of masculinities as multi-dimensional and dynamic. Through the use of co-creative engagement tools, this project endeavours to create spaces and offer reflexive tools for men to contemplate, critique, and contest normative masculinity.

Workshop Prompts

Using a speculative design framework, participants were asked to imagine and describe a world based on alternatives to traditional masculine norms.


By analysing the different ways participants engaged with workshop materials, I created six personas that reflect the various ways men engage with conversations about gender and masculinity.

Visualisation of Reflexivity and Expansion of Male Identity

This visual captures the ways by which my engagement method expands the ways for men to contemplate and discuss the experience of masculinity within the context of a masculine space, allowing for an imagining of alternative forms of masculine identity.

Workshop Participants

I partnered with Andy's Man Club and Men Matter Scotland, two men's mental health support groups, to pilot my design engagement. Using a values-based approach, participants were invited to describe a world rooted in the principles embodied by these organisations in contrast to messages about what 'real men' 'ought to do.'

Modality Matrix

By mapping the various components of my workshop by axes of group-individual and discursive-generative, I could see how future workshops might engage different types of participants in speculation about gender and masculine norms and the co-design of future engagements.

Project Process Journal

In endeavouring to create spaces and offer reflexive tools to contemplate, critique, and contest normative masculinity, this method engages men in creating multiple stories about masculine identity. Through its methodology, textural elements, and various modalities, this method and future iterations thereof use design innovation techniques to open a conversation about the future of masculinity among men who experience it. The method proffered through this research serves as but a small seed with the ambition of 'growing masculinities.'