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DEADLINE EXTENDED 20 JUNE - Call for Proposals: 2021 DRS Festival of Emergence

DEADLINE EXTENDED 20 JUNE - Call for Proposals: 2021 DRS Festival of Emergence

The Design Research Society has just launched our call for proposals for the 2021 DRS Festival of Emergence! The DRS Festival of Emergence ( optimistically looks towards a post-pandemic future. As we emerge from the emergency of these uncertain times into new ones, what have we learnt as a design research community? How has this challenge transformed our research interest areas? What do we need now? And where do we go next?


2020 and 2021 have overturned the formats of academic conferences and whilst papers can still be written and content can be shared digitally, the need for connection and the space to share, talk and connect with the wider community is stronger than ever. We are looking forward to DRS2022 in Bilbao which will be a physical and virtual hybrid event, while in the interim, our sense of a need to provide a platform for connection, and also a place to experiment with new formats within our community is strong. So with some time and space to have fun in 2021, we are proposing a new, and experimental format to explore together the current and future impact of design research.


The DRS Festival of Emergence is envisioned as a new type of DRS event. Not as formal as a conference, more interesting and unpredictable than a meeting, something which transcends timezones and geographies, allows people to ‘drop in’ when they fancy, and built upon novel, original and experimental participant-generated content.


We imagine a Festival, which runs over a series of weeks in September. The festival is made up of a series of ‘moments’ situated over space and time. Moments can be whatever the participants want them to be – lasting from between 1 hour to half a day. Formats might include: talks, presentations, showcases, debates, panel discussions, workshops, interviews, coffee breaks, social moments … whatever is possible with Zoom or other digital means!


Content is key, and we particularly encourage Moments which have the potential to probe into and create energy around new and emerging areas of design research. With the normal academic conventions of conferences removed, the Festival may therefore have particular appeal to those who are thinking of submitting a theme track to DRS2022, but want to explore their ideas in an informal way first. We hope that this Festival will generate key theme-tracks for the DRS2022 hybrid conference. With this new type of event we also seek to establish and experiment with pathways towards arranging future events and conferences, open up pathways for groups and local communities not quite yet at the stage where hosting a major conference is feasible, but where a Moment and a later theme track could be the first steps.


We invite participants to propose a format and a theme for a Moment, and to be provocative and experimental with their approach. Proposals will be reviewed by the Festival Production Team and will be selected based on their potential to engage, and the quality of the content. The Festival Production team will select the highest quality and engaging proposals and curate the programme. 


The Festival will be hosted online through the DRS website and moments will take place using Zoom.


All events in the Festival will be accessed with a single Festival pass, which is £40 for DRS members, and £100 for non- members (includes 1 year DRS membership) and £80 for students and DAC country members (includes 1 year DRS membership). Note: you do not need to pay for a festival pass in order to submit a proposal for consideration.



Proposals are submitted in the form a two-page extended abstract, using the template provided. Please submit your proposal here.

The template includes the following sections:

- Title

- Moment proposers; list of the people organising the Moment.

- Summary: a short (150 word) description of what the Moment is about and an outline of its format, aka ‘abstract’.

- Description of the Moment: meant to provide potential participants with a sense of the purpose, background, format and intended outcomes of the Moment, including its main theme, topic or big questions. Please include references if applicable. Please indicate if this is meant to become a theme track at DRS 2022.

- Digital tools needed to participate: short description of what technical means are necessary, including what platform will be used (the default is Zoom, but if other alternatives are preferred state them here).

- Practical details: such as language, time zone, maximum number of participants (if applicable – we encourage open sessions).


The deadline for proposals is midnight BST 20 June 2021.

The Festival will take place between 6 September - 17 September 2021.