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Design Ethics SIG

Design Ethics Special Interest Group (DE SIG)

Design Ethics (DE) SIG is a collaborative and interdisciplinary network of committed researchers and practitioners who will advance the knowledge base at the intersection of design, technology, ethics and politics on the one hand, and the society and environment on the other. With DE SIG, we commit to critically and systematically examine interdisciplinary interactions between Design and the Humanities, and unpack how they may reform the values and practices of the contributing disciplines.

Design ethics cuts across all fields of design. We understand it as a broad, complex, and nuanced field that should concern itself beyond established behaviours generally accepted in the profession, i.e. a code of conduct. To achieve this, we frame design ethics as an invitation to care, and argue against reducing it to a checklist, toolkit or an afterthought that can be added onto design processes. To overcome and prevent ethics from being an afterthought, we weave together the critically reflective core of the humanities with the creative capacities of design. In this way, we aim to enhance the ethical and political sensitivities of design - as a discipline and profession - in asserting its role in inter and transdisciplinary collaborations.

Practically, we intend to generate a space for learning from peers, from examples and experiences, that reveal good practices. Grounded in questioning and dialoguing, we want to facilitate learning experiences, where knowledge on design ethics is exchanged, but also created. With this, we aim to support practitioners, educators and researchers with the intellectual, critical, and creative attitude and means to address ethical issues that they encounter in daily practices. Each SIG event focuses on a specific theme, such as a specific societal challenge, application field or a technology, that is relevant for our three main pillars of interest: 

  • Scholarly foundations (theories and methods)
  • Educational approaches (didactics)
  • Design practices (real-life experiences and challenges)

We believe that DE SIG will have fulfilled its mission when:

  • The knowledge base is advanced for inter and transdisciplinary collaborations that dare to navigate critical design spaces, and which require ethical and political sensitivities and a reflexive attitude.
  • There is an increase in the number of scholarly publications at DRS voicing critical perspectives, ethical and political issues in design using interdisciplinary knowledge.
  • Design Ethics becomes an integral component in design education.
  • Design practitioners increasingly evidence solid arguments to flag ethical and political questions that arise in day-to-day practices at work and feel empowered to practice political agency.
  • New research and teaching collaborations form within and across DRS SIGs, as design ethics cuts across all sub-disciplines of design.

Conveners and extended organising group

(From left to right)

Dr. Deǧer Özkaramanlı, Dr. Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Dr. Laura Ferrarello, Dr. Sanna Lehtinen, Dr. Michael Nagenborg, Dr. Christine Schwöbel-Patel, Dr. Nolen Gertz and Naga Nandini Dasgupta



Ozkaramanli, D., Nagenborg, M., Fantini van Ditmar, D., Lehtinen, S., Schwobel-Patel, C., and Ferrarello, L. (2022) Design + Ethics: How is it more than the sum of its parts?, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 27 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.


Do you want to learn more or become a member?

Please contact us at DE SIG members can propose themes for new activities of the SIG, take the initiative to host a DE SIG event, participate or lead discussions on the online discussion forum of the SIG and more. Based on interest and expertise, they will be invited to be guest conveners in the organizing team, commentators or facilitators in SIG events, or to co-author or review SIG publications. We look forward to hearing from you!


Dr. Deǧer Özkaramanlı (Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands)

Dr. Delfina Fantini van Ditmar (Senior Tutor (Research) in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art, UK)

Dr. Laura Ferrarello (Senior Research Tutor, Acting Head of MRes, Royal College of Art, UK)

Dr. Sanna Lehtinen (Research Fellow at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland)

Dr. Michael Nagenborg (Associate Professor, University of Twente, Netherlands)

Shobhan S. (Principal, SlowStudio; Visiting Tutor, National Institute of Design, India) 

Dr. Christine Schwöbel-Patel (Associate Professor - Reader, University of Warwick, UK) 


Extended organising group

Dr. Nolen Gertz (Assistant Professor, University of Twente, Netherlands)

Naga Nandini Dasgupta (Designer and educator, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, India)



Design Ethics Sig Discussion Forum