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DRS Bilbao 2022



Extended Programme: 25th June - 3rd July 2022

Main Conference: 27th June – 1st July 2022


We are living through extraordinary times where design in many forms is necessary to counter the enormous problems we face in the challenges of our coexistence. 

How has the discipline of design research responded? Can design and design research bring the insights and methods needed for transformation and collaboration? 

Join us at the Guggenheim in Bilbao for DRS2022, a hybrid conference with unique participation opportunities and a showcase for the best in design research. Whatever your orientation to design research we encourage you to participate, to show the true diversity and potential of our discipline. 

DRS2022 is hosted by the city of Bilbao, in Northwest Spain, in association with the University of the Basque Country (Universidad del País Vasco) and the wider ecosystem of local academic and design institutions. In 2014 Bilbao became a member of the UNESCO City of Design network. As such, it hosts a permanent Design and Creativity Council with a mission to promote design-oriented urban policies and to integrate goals related to the cultural and creative industries into local development plans. Bilbao recently joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index with a commitment to meet specific guidelines for the development of more sustainable conferences. 

DRS2022 is also hosted online in a hybrid mode, with opportunities for new interactions between the place-based and online conferences. The extended conference format will give you the chance to experience the energy and creativity of Bilbao wherever you choose to participate from. 



Participation for DRS2022 takes a number of different formats. Theme-tracks aim to capitalize on emerging and specialized research networks. Research Papers can be submitted to an open call or theme-track. Conversation Sessions provide an opportunity for structured discussion exploring emerging themes. Workshops provide practical experience of methods and research outcomes, and Labs offer an opportunity to conduct design research through engagement with local organisations. A PhD Researcher event will help develop the next generation of design researchers through building new capabilities and critical thinking.



To capitalize on emerging research networks we welcome proposals for theme-tracks of research papers related to any area of design research not already covered by existing Special Interest Groups. Chairing a theme-track provides a leadership opportunity to develop a profile for an emerging area of research and bring together a community of researchers. 

Theme tracks will be managed individually by sub-chairs as part of the general paper submission, peer-review, and final programme. Sub-chairs will be responsible for suggesting and allocating reviewers, writing an introduction to their theme-track sessions to be published in the conference proceedings, and curating and chairing sessions at the conference. 

DRS2022 will be hybrid conference enabling both in-person and online presentation and participation, including within theme-track sessions.

Proposals should be submitted as a 1-2 page Word or pdf document and should consist of:

   • Theme-track title;
   • Names of proposed sub-chair/s for the session; 
   • Up to 5 people who could be involved in the review process for theme-track paper submissions; 
   • Theme-track context and outline (up to 250 words); 
   • A small number of references to indicate theme-track scope.

To allow us to publicise additional theme-tracks prior to the full-paper deadline in November, theme-track proposals should be submitted to the conference submission system by the deadline of July 26th 2021.  

Theme-track proposals will be reviewed by the conference programme committee with sub-chairs informed of outcomes within three weeks of the deadline. Successful proposals will be publicised as part of the DRS2022 conference call and invited to optionally develop their ideas and network at the DRS Festival of Emergence in September 2021.

Paper submissions for successful theme-tracks will take place via the online submission system alongside the open call for paper submissions. 

For examples of theme-tracks at previous DRS Conferences please visit the DRS Digital Library.



DRS2022 invites new paper submissions in an open call or theme-track. We embrace research looking at and using design in the widest possible sense, with interdisciplinary work particularly encouraged. Further details about theme-tracks will be announced in due course.

Submission is for full papers only up to 5000 words, including abstracts and references, and should adhere to the conference paper submission guidelines, available in August on the conference website. All submissions must be in the English language.

Authors of accepted papers are required to register and present their work at the conference, either physically or virtually according to the hybrid nature of the event. All accepted papers will be published in the DRS Digital Library and available to view approximately one month before the beginning of the conference.

The paper submission system will be open from 1st September 2021 and full papers must be submitted by 24th November 2021.  


Submit your Paper to the Open Call or a Theme Track




In past conferences the DRS Conversation format has proved a valuable and high quality format for structured discussions that advance emergent forms of design research and will form part of DRS2022.  DRS Conversations provide an innovative venue for work that is not easily captured or conveyed by the scholarly paper.  Proposals will be peer-reviewed with accepted Conversations becoming published in the DRS Digital Library Further details about the submission of proposals for Conversations will follow in the coming months with deadlines in February 2022.



DRS Workshops have become one of the most valued aspects of DRS conferences, providing a space for practical engagement and experimental sessions for conference participants to experience. Workshop proposals will be peer reviewed. Further details about the submission of proposals for Workshops and Experimental sessions will follow in the coming months with deadlines in February 2022.



A new format for DRS2022 is DRS Labs. With this format we would like to encourage design researchers to engage with local organisations in a defined project. In this way the conference can bring direct benefit to the local region and demonstrate the potential that design research can bring.

DRS labs can be projects of any size. Partner organisations will list potential projects at the beginning of 2022. These can range from architecture and planning to societal and sustainability problems, governance or product/service design. A number of longer term residences for more sustained local engagement will also be available.

Further details about the DRS Lab projects and residences will be available at the beginning of 2022.



DRS2022 will feature an innovative PhD Researcher event with the objective of vocalising and discussing theoretical and practice-based doctoral work through many of the topical issues of conducting a PhD in design research. The event activities will be designed to generate knowledge about cutting-edge practices and resources for doing a PhD, and will feature mentoring by research leaders. The event aims to provide a supportive and engaged environment in which to share practices, experiences, dilemmas, failures and doubts in order to contribute to the wider PhD design research community. 



Deadline for theme-track session proposals: 26th July 2021

Deadline for full papers: 1 December 2021 

Notification of accepted papers: February 2022 

Deadline for Conversations, Workshops, Labs: February 2022 

Conference Dates: 25th June - 3rd July 2022



Any queries about the conference should be directed to:

Conference website: (Not yet live!)

For regular updates follow us on Twitter: (Not yet live!)

The Design Research Society is a multi-disciplinary learned society for the design research community worldwide. DRS was founded in 1966, and since then has established a record of significant achievements in contributing to design knowledge. 

You can visit the DRS website at: