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Chair’s update

  • Anna Talley posted an article
    DRS elects new chairs, Prof Rebecca Cain and Dr Anna Vallgårda. see more

    The International Advisory Council has elected its new Chairs.  

    Professor Rebecca Cain from Loughborough University, in the UK, is the new DRS Chair and Chair of the DRS Executive Board.  

    Dr Anna Vallgårda from the IT University of Copenhagen has been elected as the new Chair of the DRS International Advisory Council.

    Rebecca Cain has a record of long service with the DRS, having been a council member since 2009, when she held the role of Honorary Secretary.  She was one of the leading members in transitioning the society to the new, international governance structure that exists today, and for the last two years has held the role of the Vice-Chair of the DRS Executive Board. 

    Rebecca founded SIGWELL, the DRS Special Interest group on Wellbeing, Happiness and Health, and co-chaired the DRS2020 Conference.  In her time as Vice-Chair, Rebecca has been active in community building, through mobilising the creation of new SIGs and co-produced the experimental online conference format – the DRS Festival of Emergence, in 2021.

    In her other roles, Rebecca is a Professor of Transdisciplinary Design in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University, where she also holds the role of Associate Dean. She is Director of a Transdisciplinary Doctoral Training Centre, which is using a cohort approach to creatively rethink experiences of home and homelessness. She is also active within the UK Research Funding Councils, is a member of the Learning Committee at the Design Museum in London, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA). 

    Upon her election to DRS Chair, Rebecca said “It is truly an honour to serve the Design Research Community as the new Chair of DRS.  The DRS has been a central part of my academic life for over thirteen years, and over that time, it has been hugely rewarding to be part of the growth and transformation of the society into the international body it is today”.  

    On future plans, she added. “Over the next two years, I look forward to working with our new Executive Board and International Advisory Council to build a diverse and inclusive society which serves the global design research community and furthers the field of design research.  In the challenging times we live in, there has never been a more pressing need for design disciplines to come together as a collective force to make change.  I am passionate about building communities across disciplines,  working in partnership and supporting the next generation of design researchers.”

    Anna Vallgårda, the incoming Chair of the International Advisory Council has been an active member of the DRS Executive Board for the last two years, and has been a leading figure in the operationalisation of the DRS’ new Digital Library. The goal is that the DRS Digital Library becomes the primary repository for all design research related publications. For instance, last year we were happy to include the entire back-catalogue of the Nordic design conference series NORDES. While Anna steps down from the Executive board she will continue in the working group devoted to develop the library towards its goal. 

    In her other roles, Anna is Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen and head of the IxD lab which she founded in 2012. Anna conducts research in the intersection of materials, interaction design, and domestic healthcare. 

    Upon her election to Chair of the IAC, Anna said  “I am looking forward to working with our expanded International Advisory Council over the next two years. I especially look forward to developing a culture around working groups within the council to support the tasks of the executive board and thus activate the impressive variety of knowledge and experience the council covers. This, I believe, will strengthen the global relevance of the DRS.

    President of the DRS, Professor Rachel Cooper added “ I am extremely happy to be working with Rebecca and Anna who have already given significant time and expertise to the Society. It has been a pleasure to work with Peter Lloyd who has been a driver of change for the good. Paul Hekkert has led the development of the International Advisory Council to a sound and significant position, I thank them both for their past contributions and I look forward to further transformations of the Society led by Rebecca and Anna.”


    Anna and Rebecca alongside Rachel Cooper, representing the new DRS leadership.

  • Design History Society posted an article
    The DRS Annual Report 2020 now is available for download. see more

    The DRS Annual Report 2020 now is available for download. It includes the Chair’s Report from Peter Lloyd, as well as reports on governance, finance, membership, communications and DRS Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

    Following a vote to change our constitution in January of 2020, we held elections in May to vote on a new International Advisory Council (IAC) of 18 members, which is now chaired by Professor Paul Hekkert. At the first meeting of the new IAC, held in July 2020, five members of the IAC were elected to the new Executive Board, and Peter Lloyd was elected to the position of Chair of the Society to lead the DRS over the next two years. We held our biennial conference, DRS2020, which was originally due to take place in Brisbane, Australia, online due to the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic. In December, we launched our Open Access Digital Library, which has publications from virtually all previous DRS conferences and can be used as a resource for the field of design research. 

     The  DRS Festival of Emergence will be a major event this year, alongside promotion for the  DRS 2022 Conference in Bilbao.

    For full details, please download the DRS Annual Report 2020 below.

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Quarterly update from Peter Lloyd, Chair of the DRS see more

    Chair’s Update, October 2020

    The past few months have seen our biennial conference in August, successfully delivered online by the team at Griffith University, Brisbane. I hope those that were able to attend enjoyed the experience. The lessons we learned will surely help in designing our future conferences.

    The past few months have also seen the new DRS governance structure settling into place. The new Executive Board is now meeting regularly to discuss new initiatives, events and ideas. We are working on how to better connect the community of researchers that make up the DRS and also on how to involve the membership in codesigning new events. Look out for calls for participation over the coming months.

    As Chair of the DRS I am often asked what value an individual member gets for their membership. As well as discounts to conferences and access to opportunities such as the student bursary and fellowships, a key aspect of the membership fee is helping to build a stronger research field and raise the profile of design research more generally. Achieving these objectives helps everyone in the field, both members and non-members—a case of a rising tide lifting all boats.

    One of the ways we are helping to raise the profile of the discipline is through our new open access Digital Library which will launch in the next few weeks and is rapidly filling up. The library will feature all publications from recent conferences and, having worked on parts of the library myself, I’m very excited about its reception and potential.

    As COVID-19 cases increase worldwide I wish you a safe few months.



    Peter Lloyd, Chair of the DRS

     October 27, 2020
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Recent DRS news see more

    Chair’s Update, June 2020

    The speed of recent global events has given us a new sense of the world we live in and its complex and often invisible interconnections. This presents both new challenges and new opportunities for design research. In this light I’m looking forward to DRS2020 where we can begin to map out some of these issues in the online workshops and conversations that are being planned. A recent article by Bruno Latour on the coronavirus crisis1 laid out some provocative thinking in this respect, ending with very simple but pertinent questions with which to think about how design research can help shape our common future.

    The past couple of months have been busy ones for the DRS with elections taking place and the formation of the first International Advisory Council with members from all over the world. 18 successful candidates will now work together to take the DRS forward over the next few years. The first meetings of the new Council will take place over the coming weeks. I’m sure they will result in exciting ideas to develop the Society and the field of design research. I would like to thank all the members of the Interim Council who will not be continuing, but have done so much in getting the Society to this positive position.

    I’m also pleased to report that the new DRS Digital Library is taking shape using Elsevier’s Digital Commons platform. Once up and running, the Digital Library will become a repository for all DRS publications and archival material and also offers the possibility of hosting related design research publications This will increase our impact on the research landscape with more visibility in citation searches. Publishing the papers for DRS2020 is our first priority and we hope to launch the Digital Library in the weeks leading up to the conference.

    Finally, our newest Special Interest Group, Pluriversal Design, held its first major event this month. With exceptional timing the PIVOT conference explored how we can design a world with many centres. With over 40 presentations and multiple breakout discussions, it was an inspiring online event for those who attended. A conference review will be coming soon.

    I wish everyone a safe and successful summer, and look forward to meeting some of you at DRS2020.



    Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair of DRS



  • Peter Lloyd posted an article
    DRS Coronavirus update see more

    We suddenly find ourselves in very challenging times and I hope DRS members are keeping safe around the world. Much of what we do as a Society is online so we have largely been able to carry on as normal, though obviously all our lives are now very different.

    Leading the way for the DRS has been PedSIG, which is now holding regular online discussions for design educators who are having to teach in a completely different way. With much expertise in distance and blended learning, DRS members are contributing their methods and tips for online teaching with a regularly updated design education blog:

    One face-to-face activity that we were obviously planning was our biennial conference: DRS2020 in Brisbane. In discussion with the local organisation and conference chair we have now decided to switch to an online only conference. Though this is unfortunate it does also present an opportunity to prototype a new kind of conference and may actually help to increase the level of participation and accessibility, pointing the way for the future. All papers accepted for the conference will be published. More details will follow over the coming weeks. 

    The elections for the new DRS International Advisory Council are the other main thing that is happening at the moment. As we are conducting the elections online we are keeping to the original timetable with nominations due on 9th April. That means there is still time to put yourself forward to help shape the future of the Society in a world where design research is more vital than ever.

    Take care all,
    Peter Lloyd
    Acting Chair of the DRS

     March 24, 2020
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    The DRS enters 2020 in a good financial position and with growing followers see more

    DRS Annual Report 2019

    The DRS Annual Report 2019 is available for download below. It includes the Chair’s Report from Peter Lloyd, acting chair of the DRS and a report from Honorary Secretary Rebecca Cain. There are also reports on finance, membership, communications, events and DRS Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

    2019 was a significant year for DRS leadership with the proposal of a new governance structure in January. Design Studies, the academic journal of the Society, celebrated its 40th year and announced an increased impact factor, reinforcing its high ranking in the field of design research. Although there was no DRS biennial conference, there were many exciting SIG events. This included PedSIG’s Learn X Design Conference, the EKSIG 2019 Conference and the OPENSIG book launch for Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things.

    The DRS enters 2020 in a good financial position and with growing website visitors and social media followers. The DRS Elections and the DRS2020 Conference in Brisbane will be major events this year.

     March 18, 2020
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    DRS news from September-December 2019 see more

    Chair’s Update, December 2019

    At the DRS AGM in January this year members voted to adopt a new governance structure to allow the DRS to become a more effective, inclusive, and international organisation. Since then an Interim DRS Advisory Council has been meeting regularly to map out the future activities of the DRS and develop the constitutional rule changes necessary for this new structure to come into place.

    Happily we now have a proposed new set of rules, but these will need confirmation by members at a Special General Meeting to be held on 21st January 2020 at 11:30 am (UK time). We will be holding this meeting online to allow wide participation for as many members as possible. At the meeting we will outline our present position, the proposed future for the Society, and the rule changes that will mean we can work together to better develop the field of design research.

    Please put this date in your diaries! We would like to encourage as many members as possible to join the meeting not only to vote, but also to find out about the future of the DRS. An official announcement about the Special General Meeting with further details will be made in the coming weeks.

    I am also pleased to say that the regular work of the DRS continues as well. In the past months we have launched new SIGs (Global Health SIG and Pluiversal Design SIG), have had new Fellows join us, awarded nine student research bursaries, and appointed a new Publications and Archives Editor. We are also working on a report about funding for design research in different countries around the world to help members understand the international funding landscape and learn from each other.

    The paper deadline for DRS2020 (9th December) is rapidly approaching and we look forward to receiving submissions for this. We will shortly be putting out the call for expressions of interest to host the DRS2022 conference.

    Finally, Design Studies, the journal of the DRS, celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year and in the latest volume Nigel Cross has edited a special issue of invited contributions reflecting on 40 years of design research and the growth of the ‘discipline of design’. There are some thoughtful and analytical contributions which are well worth reading.

    I wish you all a great festive season and look forward to an important year for the DRS in 2020!



    Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair of the Interim DRS Advisory Council

     December 02, 2019
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Update from Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair of the DRS Interim Advisory Council see more

    Chair’s Update, August 2019

    Summer is conference season and I had the pleasure of attending the Learn X Design conference in Ankara this July. This is the biennial conference for our Pedagogy Research SIG (PedSIG). What a fantastic experience it was, both in the research that was presented, the people that came from all over the world, and the outstanding social events. Talking about design education research in a Turkish Hammam was a particular highlight. So a big thanks to Naz Börekçi, Fatma Korkut, and Dalsu Özgen Koçyıldırım and all at METU for their excellent organisation and hosting. You can read more about the conference here.


    Above: Photo at the closing of Learn X Design 2019

    In September I look forward to meeting some of you at the IASDR conference in Manchester. IASDR connects different societies of design research across the world and is a great opportunity to forge new collaborations and partnerships. In other news, the improved governance model for the Society is reaching the final stages of approval by Council and will make us a more international and inclusive Society. Further information about this will be available in the coming months. We hope also to officially launch the DRS2020 conference in Brisbane in the coming weeks.

    Above: DRS2020 logo

    I’m also pleased to announce that the journal of the DRS, Design Studies, has increased its impact factor in the past year, rising to 2.78 and keeping us right at the top of design research journals. Finally, I would like to encourage members who have made significant contributions to the design research field to apply for Fellowship of the Society, this recognises important contributions of individuals and can enhance your external profile.



    Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair of the DRS Interim Advisory Council

     August 26, 2019
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    DRS is currently in good health and focussing on an extended range of aims and objectives! see more

    Chair’s Update, May 2019

    2019 begun with fundamental changes for the DRS. At the Annual General Meeting in Manchester in January those present voted in a new governance structure that will mean we can properly represent our international membership and allow us to work on a wider range of issues and challenges for design research. 

    At the Council meeting following the AGM the previous Chair, Tracy Bhamra, signalled her intention to step down and, after a vote, I was happy to be elected as Acting Chair of an Interim Advisory Council while we work towards formalising the new structure. When this is complete, later this year, we will put out a call for members to stand for election. I would like to thank Tracy for her excellent leadership of the DRS over the past couple of years and she remains as part of the Advisory Council.

    Following the AGM a number of other people have stepped down from Council and I would like to thank them all for their dedicated service: Kristina Niederrer, Arno Verhoeven, Nithikul Nimkulrat, and Keelin Leahy.

    In their place I would like to welcome two new members to Council: Ming Cheung, Professor of Experience Design at Griffiths University, Brisbane, who is the conference chair for DRS2020 (details to be announced soon) and Emmanuel Tsekleves from Lancaster University, convener for the new Global Health Special Interest Group. Welcome both!

    We are currently looking at bringing PhD Researcher representation to council by co-opting two student members. This will mean we will begin to cater for what is becoming an increasingly large part of the DRS, the student membership body.

    Above: Photo from the AGM, January 2019

    In March the DRS contributed to a second meeting of the Montreal Design Declaration, a worldwide consortium of design organisations focussed on working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Alongside other design research organisations, such as IASDR and the Design Society, we put the case for design research to be an integral part of meeting these challenges. Partnership working will be key to the success of the DRS over the coming years and it is our intention to be present at more events like this in promoting the value of design research.

     Above: Photo from the second Design Declaration Summit, April 2019 

    The DRS SIGs continue to be a healthy area of development for the society. In the past month we have approved two new SIGs: Global Health and Pluriversal Design and now offer an annual fund for SIG development activity. Three well established SIGs have been involved with significant events. SIGWELL recently held a well-attended event at TU Delft, OpenSIG is launching Tricky Design, a book conceived at our DRS2016 conference, at the Design Museum in London, and we look forward to Learn X Design, the biennial conference for PEDSIG at METU Ankara, Turkey in July.

    Above: Photo from the SIGWELL Conference, April 2019 

    So I’m happy to report that the DRS is currently in good health and focussing on an extended range of aims and objectives. I will be at Learn X in Ankara and hope to meet any other members that are attending.



    Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair