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Sustainability SIG

The DRS Sustainability SIG aims to nurture design research debates and outcomes that are more holistic in their approach to ecological and social care. In the context of the current global pandemic where the challenges to lifestyle and working norms are evident. SusSIG enables a timely reflection on the theory and practices that can signpost different ways ahead.

The Design Research Society’s Sustainability Special Interest Group (SusSIG) aims to connect design researchers from across the world to debate, exchange and co-create adaptable and more resilient design responses to contemporary threats such as the destruction of ecological systems and the inequitable distribution of global resources.

The language and activities of Design for Sustainability are not new, although the focus has often been oriented to industrial knowledge and practice and shaped by an economic growth paradigm. The result is that environmental crises grow and social inequalities deepen. 

A step change in thinking and action is required. This change must incorporate a deeper understanding of, and empathy to, ecological complexity and its intersection with social problems. Design, as part of the ‘modern project’, is part of the intersecting social systems and structures that have created the current scale of ecosystem and social insecurities. If it is to have a vital role in creating other solutions, design thinking must consider ecological and social complexity

Key objectives

  • Enable international discussions to locate how global design research that promotes ecological and social care is currently represented in language, in theory and methods, and in practice. 
  • Harness the plethora of Design for Sustainability (DfS) activities and outcomes from across the globe (in academia, industry, communities) to make visible research in this area: its legacies, gaps and future visions.
  • Decentralise activities by facilitating the establishment of working groups focusing on specific DfS themes and/or specific geographical contexts.
  • Mentor a new generation of sustainability researchers in design and connect to established and emerging practitioners and activists.
  • Foster opportunities for both strategic and practical action built from our research knowledge and connectivity


To join SusSIG, simply join the discussion forum here

To Find out more information about SusSIG please contact Emma Dewberry or Joanna Boehnert

SuSSIG Convenors

Emma Dewberry

Garrath Wilson

Joanna Boehnert

Britta Boyer

Mathilda Tham

Gunter Wehmeyer

Fabrizio Ceschin

Gonzalo Raineri


Discussion Forum