The latest insights in design for wellbeing education, with a special focus on ethics see more
Report: DRS SIGWELL Conference 2019
In April 2019, the DRS Special Interest Group 'Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health' (SIGWELL) organised a one-day conference on Design for Wellbeing Education at the TUDelft Teaching Lab. The conference explored the latest insights in design for wellbeing education, with a special focus on ethics. It had about 70 attendees - a nice group for our first renewed SIGWELL event! We used different presentation formats to inspire the audience. This included keynote presentations, workshops and a series of short presentations.
After opening words by SIGWELL Chair Ann Petermans, the day started with a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Peter-Paul Verbeek titled ‘Designing Wellbeing: Responsible Design and Value Change’. Next, Prof. Dr. Pieter Desmet and Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl led a workshop on tools and methods for design for wellbeing, and Jet Gispen led a workshop on ethical reflections toward design for wellbeing. After the workshops, Dr. Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer gave an informative talk entitled ‘A flourishing University – Designing Systematically for Academic Wellbeing.’ She stressed that we need to develop a better understanding of creative methods and practices to address today’s complex societal challenges.
After lunch, we had short presentations with five contributors: Armin Nagel discussed his Happy Waiting project, Stefan Persaud talked about education for happiness, Dr. Mathieu Gielen spoke about co-design with kids, Pelin Esnaf examined empathy as a design skill, and Chiel van der Linden discussed 'the holy grail' of worldwide wellbeing. The day ended with a keynote presentation by Andrew James, assistant principal at Mount Waverley North Primary School in Melbourne, Australia. He explained how positive design and principles from positive psychology were explored and applied in his school with children aged 10-12.
Although the conference is over, we're looking forward to some great upcoming events. Many SIGWELL members have contributed to an upcoming design for wellbeing book with Routledge. And, of course, we hope to be present at DRS 2020!
Ann Petermans, SIGWELL Chair
LearnXDesign 2017 Conference prvided a future vision of design education see more
The fourth international DRS / CUMULUS / ED-DESIGN Conference on Design Education - LearnXdesign 2017 - was held at the end of June 2017 at Ravensbourne in London, UK.
The opening keynote by Susan Orr (@Susan_K_Orr) superbly summarised the current landscape in design education, focusing on significant aspects of core design pedagogy and noting how these are being understood in our own discipline(s) as well as how they could transfer to other subject domains. Looking into the near future, she described design as continually developing, where “students are the definers of the discipline”.
On Thursday, keynote Jo Twist (@Doctoe) demonstrated just how significant the games industry in the UK is - both economically and as a discipline and professional endeavour. She observed that “play allows you to fail” before calling for even greater integration between the Arts and traditional (but unhelpfully segregated) STEM subjects that often lead game design.
The closing Keynote was given by Dori Tunstall (@Dori_Danthro) presenting how OCAD U are continuing to decolonise their curriculum and implement Respectful Design across their studios and processes. Echoing Orr’s Keynote observation, that the widening of design curricula must be a focus of design education in the coming years, Tunstall presented a positive and optimistic interpretation of how this can be achieved inclusively and without the ‘race to the bottom’ some may think it entails.
In between these keynotes were the usual range of interesting and well-researched presentations of papers, positions and works-in-progress from across the world. Anyone who has attended a LearnXdesign event will understand that it’s usually a group of really committed and passionate practitioners, coming together to share and expand their personal and collective knowledge in design education. In summing up the conference, Ravensbourne’s Gary Pritchard and Linda Drew reflected what delegates were thinking - it was, as always, the people who made the event.
A huge thank you to all of the Ravensbourne organisers and support staff who made the event so successful.
The conference proceedings will be available in the next few weeks.
The location for the next LearnXdesign conference in 2019 has yet to be confirmed so if any DRS members are interested or have any ideas for this then just get in touch with PedSIG lead Mike Tovey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Short Conference summary and links for DRS 2018 see more
The 2018 Design Research Society international conference was held in Limerick, Ireland from 25 - 28 June 2018. Thanks to record-breaking weather, umbrellas intended for traditional Atlantic Irish rain were put to use as sun shades and the campus of the University of Limerick came to life, providing a beautiful backdrop to an amazing event.
This is just a quick summary of the conference with some links and resources. We’ll be posting a series of conference reports from a range of different perspectives and voices over the coming weeks (so check your notification settings to make sure you get these).
The scale of the conference demonstrated the continuing growth and development of design research at an international level, with 600+ delegates from all around the world. The domain of design research was clearly represented by the themes emerging from work submitted by DRS members.
This landscape of design knowledge culminated in 7 volumes of Conference Proceedings:
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 1
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 2
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 3 (part a)
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 3 (part b)
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 4
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 5
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 6
- Proceedings of DRS2018 - Volume 7
The conference hosted 3 main Keynote Debates around particular topics in design research as a catalyst for change. Technology did what technology does best (of course…). But people did what they are best at, too - finding their own ways to discuss, connect with, and develop ideas. Videos of each debate are available here:
- Keynote debate Day 1 - Design research and industry impacts
- Keynote debate Day 2 - Social and Public
- Keynote debate Day 3 - Whose Design?
The workshops, discussions, and paper presentations were all well attended - even over-attended in the fantastic Limerick weather. And in between events the overall feel of the conference was one engaged activity and debate. You can find some of the conference photos here:
And, the DRS Council had a stall at the conference and it was great to have direct conversations with everyone face to face and online. We gathered some really useful feedback from the postcards and consultation session around our 4 key FutureDRS questions. A huge thank you to everyone who took time to get involved and we will publish the results on this shortly.
Next up, the biennial DRS LearnXdesign 2019 Conference will be held 9 - 12 July 2019 in Ankara, Turkey.
And the 2020 DRS Conference will be held at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Further details to follow soon…
DRS Attends Design Declaration Summit meeting see more
The DRS attended the second Design Declaration Summit in St. Étienne, 2-5 April 2019.
International delegates from a diverse range of design related organisations were represented, including the UK Design Council, the national Danish Design Centre, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, Architecture Sans Frontières, as well as a number of Universities and design schools.
This was technically the pre-summit which arranged a series of activities in preparation for the full summit, planned for 2021. These activities centred around three workstreams:
\ Establishing metrics and collecting data and case studies to more effectively communicate the value of design
\ Supporting development of National and Regional Design Policies
\ Fostering development, recognition, support and funding for design education and research, including development of new formats for design education curricula.
It was felt by the DRS Council that the Summit was an important event to attend - not simply because the Society was one of 18 original signatories to the original Declaration, but also to ensure that design research and design researchers in particular were represented. It turned out that this was an important opportunity to do so.
Presentations in each workstream demonstrated the breadth of global activity that relies on, or is affected by, design. At this scale, the synergies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals were noted by a number of presenters. The values in the original Declaration were referred to regularly, albeit with only a few delegates noting just how difficult it is to confront the practical reality of ethics in design.
The range of discussion within each workstream attempted to identify practical progress that could be made prior to the main summit in 2021. This is, as anyone who has hosted such an event will know, the hard part - talking and agreeing on matters is one thing but translating this to tangible action is quite another. The DRS, with a few other organisations, called for a design prototyping approach to elicit outputs and act as a catalyst to make progress. We await the outputs from the Pre-Summit and will share these with members as soon as they are available.
The DRS was represented at the second Design Declaration Summit by Peter Lloyd, Acting Chair, and Derek Jones, Communications Officer and acting PedSIG representative.
The Design Declaration Summit website can be found here: http://www.designdeclaration.org/
The SID is an annual event led by leading design research universities in Chile see more
The SID - Seminario de Investigación en Diseño (trans. Design Research Seminar) - is an annual event led by leading design research universities in Chile. The 2018 event took place November 20th and 21st at the newly inaugurated theatre of Biobío in the city of Concepción. The seminar explored topics including healthcare, sustainability, design education, design for public services and design heritage. These diverse topics offered a rich opportunity to discuss the state of design at national and international levels. The seminar also demonstrated growing academic interest in design research and the diverse needs of the Chilean society, which can be addressed by interdisciplinary research projects.
My research team at Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) presented the project: "Designing an intuitive interface to enhance trigonometry learning.” We worked with the School of Engineering to develop an intuitive and non-traditional pedagogical approach.
We greatly enjoyed the keynote by Dr. Helena Aguilar from the Centre of Nanotechnology and Smart Materials (CeNTI) in Portugal. She spoke about an inspiring project on smart windows, which showed how design, technology and sustainability can produce beautiful, efficient and innovative solutions to improve human lives. The seminar also provided the opportunity to learn about top design publications in Chile like DISEÑA, REVISTA CHILENA DE DISEÑO and BASE DISEÑO E INNOVACIÓN.
Design research in Chile is developing fast and moving beyond our borders. Although Chile is geographically isolated, Chilean designers and design researchers work in constant collaboration with international partners. We reach global audiences and communicate Chilean design values to the rest of the world. Our next step is to invite the international design research community to Chile and Latin America. We are quickly working toward that dream!
Catalina Cortés, Instructor and Researcher, Design School, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile
Is 'Design so White' in Emerging Critical Design Studies? see more
Reflection on Keynote Debate 3: Whose Design?
As a follow-up to DRS2018, we invited select conference participants to reflect on the Keynote Debates and related conversations that took place during the conference. The article that follows responds to debate 3 - "Whose Design?: Sharing Counter Perspectives on Dominant Design Gazes." It was prepared by Renata M. Leitão (OCAD University) and Lesley-Ann Noel (Stanford University), track chairs of "Not Just from the Centre - Multiple Voices in Design" at DRS2018.
Whose Design? Is 'Design so White' in Emerging Critical Design Studies?
Renata M. Leitão (OCAD University) & Lesley-Ann Noel (Stanford University)
Throughout the DRS2018 keynote debates, a huge screen behind the speakers and the moderator showed questions asked by the audience, allowing for a certain participation in the debate. And still, the most asked question was not addressed for two days: “why is design so white?” As co-chairs of the track "Not Just from the Centre — Multiple Voices in Design," this question is central to our work. Not that we believe that design is itself white – as the practice of world-making, it is ubiquitous and widespread –, but mainstream narratives of what constitute “good and valid” design excludes non-Eurocentric perspectives.
Even if that hot question was not addressed for two days, we could see a clear change in the demographics and interests of DRS delegates, compared to previous conferences. The rooms of critical tracks – such as "Designing for Transitions" and "Design, Research and Feminism(s)" – were completely crowded, contrasting with the empty rooms of a few more mainstream tracks. Critical conversations ranged from "A Feminine Approach to Design" to "Indigeneity and Mestizaje in Latin America." Around us, many discussions between delegates involved encouraging the participation of designers from the global South in DRS conferences. Indeed, we both played a part in the process of encouraging more designers of color to participate when we proposed our track.
The question “why is design so white?” was addressed in the third Keynote Debate “Whose Design?: Sharing Counter Perspectives on Dominant Design Gazes” by Andrea Botero (moderator), Sadie Red Wing and Arturo Escobar. Dr Botero asked an important question: "for who is design so white?" Because from her perspective as a Latin American scholar who collaborates with other critical design scholars, design does not seem that white. Inspiring presentations from Indigenous designer Sadie Red Wing and from Prof. Arturo Escobar unveiled counter perspectives. Escobar argued that a field of transnational critical design studies is currently emerging. After three days of encouraging conversations about countering Anglo/Eurocentrism and oppressive perspectives in design among DRS delegates, we have to agree with Escobar.
But still, developing transnational critical studies in design has some challenges. It is noticeable that the question “why is design so white?” was only addressed in the keynote debate between two Colombian academics and an Indigenous academic. The participants of the first two Keynote Debates where not able to address the most asked question. Are only non-Anglo/Eurocentric designers capable or expected to address this kind of question? We hope not, as this question is relevant for the role of design in building and transforming our world and its social structures. Could white design scholars unlearn design Eurocentrism? Could North American and European designers learn from different perspectives and be able to constructively participate in the transformation of design research and practice? We have to believe the answer is a “yes.” And the promising conversations among DRS delegates need to be transformed into actions and new structures that allow for the unlearning of Eurocentrism in design.
Escobar has asked how we can develop non-Eurocentric design work (Escobar, 2018). Design conferences are not known for being diverse spaces. It is not unusual to go to a design conference and count the people of color on one hand. Therefore, one of the first steps to answering this question would be to ensure that these spaces are more diverse. This DRS conference was inspiring because it was evidently more diverse and conversations about diversity were loud. The organisers even managed to facilitate distance participation of several presenters including Adolphe Yemtim from Burkina Faso and Octaviyanti Wahyurini from Indonesia. If we want to talk about diversity, multiple voices in design and constructing a non-European design imagination, we have to address the systemic challenges and barriers that make participation of designers from outside ‘The Centre’ so difficult. Both Yemtim and Wahyurini, among other presenters, faced visa challenges. Another participant withdrew his paper when he considered the cost of participation compared to his cost of living. The hegemony of the English language in design research also creates another barrier to participation. The conversations and participation at the DRS2018 were inspiring, but the challenges faced also remind us that so much more needs to be done.
Escobar, A. (2018). Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Durham: Duke University Press.
The Impact of Design Research on Organizational Culture Change in Industry: Lessons from DRS2018 see more
Reflection on Keynote Debate 1: Design Research and Industry Impacts
As a follow-up to DRS2018, we invited conference participants to reflect on the keynote debates and related conversations that took place during the conference. The article that follows responds to debate 1 - "Design Research and Industry Impacts: Exploring the changing nature of design research and practice within academia and industry." It was prepared by Chris Hammond (IBM Design) & Joyce Yee (Northumbria University), track chairs of "How Organisations Employ Design as a Vehicle for Change" at DRS2018.
The Impact of Design Research on Organizational Culture Change in Industry: Lessons from DRS2018
Chris Hammond (IBM Design) & Joyce Yee (Northumbria University)
On opening day of DRS2018, we heard that design is a key component of Ireland’s innovation agenda and that 20% of Ireland’s exports are design-driven. In the opening keynote debate exploring the changing nature of design research and its practice within academia and industry, Professor Paul Rodgers stated that designers are "facilitators of change." Lorna Ross added, "design is like science, it is a tool for understanding as well as for acting." In the two sessions of our curated track "How organisations employ design for change," we heard no shortage of case studies documenting the adoption of design to create increased value and differentiation. These studies featured a range of organisations: from large, multi-national companies to small businesses.
It is evident that design brings value to organizations. The notion of changing culture through design is widespread but not well understood. Research typically focuses on methods to create better goods and services, but little exists on how organizational culture has evolved and what tactics were used to create new realities for employees. We observed this gap in our own track; few papers directly presented concrete evidence to the theme of long-term sustainable organisational change. Additionally, the majority of papers were overwhelmingly from academic researchers, not practitioners in the field. There seems to be significant interest on this topic, but the lack of practitioner papers and attendees suggest limited design research impact on industry.
The lack of academic research impact on industry practice isn’t a new problem and is not limited to design research. This gap reflects the realities of the different practices and cultures - not a lack of trying. Many academic papers are made inaccessible through a pay wall subscription format. But, impact on practice is an increasingly important issue. We need critical and long-term study in this field of growing importance for design. It would also help inform the research impact agenda in the UK and elsewhere. So, how do we encourage more interactions and engagement between design researchers and practitioners? How do we ensure we focus on evidencing long-term sustainable change while also responding to the changing needs of industry?
In industry, design research involves making as a key research approach. We advance our understanding by not only tracking and understanding an ongoing phenomenon, but in participating in it - by prototyping and creating new future experiences and evaluating their impact. Investigation, understanding and framing are all important moments in design, but it is not until we make new experiences that we can begin to measure and assess the improved future state. This focus on action can create more meaningful interactions between academic researchers and practitioners.
How might we plan experiments to inform knowledge on the topic? Where can we study long-term change over time? What other formats might bring about more meaningful interactions? Would organisations host a ‘researcher-in-residence’? Could the DRS as a traditionally academic-focused society be opened up to design researchers practising in industry or act as the bridge? Do we need intermediary organisations like think tanks to ‘translate’ research with industry, similar to the policy sector?
Current forms of research dissemination don't have the desired impact on industry. What can we as a community do? With the current discourse on decolonising design and the re-evaluation of our existing frames of reference relating to design knowledge, it seems an opportune time to ask how we are using this knowledge to better inform practice. Effective organizational change requires a diversity of experiences and skills. As a community, what experiences need to be shared and how do we advance the research and the practical application? We’re ready to start. Help us to build a community of organisational change for academics and industry!
Optimistic design power in Japan see more
Reflection on Keynote Debate 2: Social & Public
As a follow-up to DRS2018, we invited select conference participants to reflect on the Keynote Debates and related conversations during the conference. The article that follows responds to debate 2 - "Social & Public: Exploring changing contexts of design research and practice through the intersections between design for policy and social design." It was written by Shion Asada, PhD Student at RCA - IIS Tokyo Design Lab, University of Tokyo & Director/Design Researcher at Mimicry Design Inc. in Tokyo.
Optimistic Design Power in Japan
Shion Asada, University of Tokyo
It’s clear from this Keynote Debate that many European countries employ design teams within government. There was a deep discussion about the role of design in, with and for government throughout the talk. This significant role and influence of design were surprising to me as a Japanese researcher, since it hasn’t typically been seen in my government. However, the Japan Patent Office, within the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), recently released a Design-Driven Management manifesto. This hints at a significant turning point for the role of design in Japan!
This manifesto was originally developed by a study group consisting of government officials and design leaders like Kinya Tagawa from Takram, Chiaki Hayashi from Loftwork and Yutaka Hasegawa from Sony. They engaged in deep discussions about design and ultimately proposed that design should play a bigger role in business and governance, taking power from the management sector. They set policy recommendations to promote this design-driven management and held a bold trial of the policy within the Patent Office itself. This involved appointing a Creative Design Officer and design management project team to analyse and reimagine services from a user’s perspective. The team launched their first beta-version services this September, after only a month. This is an unbelievably fast move, especially considering it happened within the Japanese government!
This manifesto and its quick adoption are like a flower that started to grow and then spread at incredible speed. Passionate young design leaders cultivated the groundwork for these results over many years, and helped open the way for followers in design and business fields. Just this month, Mr.Tagawa from Takram and Ms.Munakata from the Patent Office participated in a talk about the manifesto. Although I was unable to attend, I could sense extraordinary enthusiasm in the potential of design by following the event on Twitter and blogs. To quote Dr. Andrea Siodmok from the Keynote Debate, this recent event was filled with “optimistic design power.”
This initiative is very promising. Japan has many issues to be addressed like an aging society, the dangers of earthquakes and industry structure. I believe design within government will encourage the spread of optimistic and positive design thinking in response to these problems.
DRS 2018 was my first international design conference, as I just started my PhD this year. I was struck by the positive atmosphere and open-minded conference attendees working from many different perspectives. That said, there weren’t many Japanese participants, which makes me feel that we Japanese missed an amazing opportunity. I encourage other Japanese researchers to join the DRS community and potentially gain inspiration to further increase “optimistic design power” in Japan.
Peter Lloyd posted an articleAbout the DRS's Participation in the World Design Summit see more
The DRS at the World Design Summit: Report
The Design Research Society was invited to participate, along with many other International Design Societies and Organisations, in the World Design Summit which took place in Montreal on the 23rd and 24th October 2017. The purpose of the Summit was the development of a joint Declaration – a position statement to identify the unique role, capacities and value of design and design-related disciplines in the current global context. The declaration outlined how design impacts and can better address aspects of economy, culture, environment, and society and serves to galvanize the resources and skills of the international design, planning, architecture and landscape architecture communities in articulating a bold vision of a design-driven future.
Delegates at the World Design Summit in Montreal
The Design Research Society came relatively late to the process, in August this year, but the declaration has been many years in development. In 2015 seven international organizations representing industrial design, interior design, interaction design, graphic and communication design, landscape architecture and housing and planning jointly declared design’s critical role in shaping the world that meets global development goals fostering sustainability, equality, diversity and long term economic viability. Conceptual convergence has come about by focusing on that which is common between the disciplines and the shared desire to strategically leverage the unique capacity of design to address pressing global needs.
The draft declaration was considered by the DRS Council prior to the summit and, though there was some criticism that the role of design researchers and Universities wasn’t prominent enough, it was thought this was an initiative that aligned well with the aims and objectives of the Society. The summit itself was conducted as a UN style negotiation, with each society/organisation having up to two delegates. Professor Peter Lloyd represented the DRS as Vice Chair and head delegate, with Professor Tiiu Poldma as supporting delegate (though also head delegate for IASDR). Societies who had indicated that they would be prepared to sign the declaration were given the chance to speak in various sessions to comment on various aspects of the draft delegation. On behalf of the DRS it was suggested that design research (and research in general) as well as forward thinking design education, should be a key component of any future involving design solutions at the global scale.
DRS Vice Chair, Peter Lloyd signs the Montreal Design Declaration on behalf of the DRS
Following two days of commenting on the declaration - comments that will be taken account of in the next stage of implementation - the summit ended with a signing ceremony where 25 international design organisations along with several International Non-Governmental Organisations, amongst them UNESCO and other UN Global Compacts, signed up to what is now known as the Montreal Design Declaration.
It will be interesting to see what follow’s from a declaration of such ambition and scope, but several of the possible projects listed as examples could be taken on by the DRS - see the text of the declaration below for project outlines. Aside from the declaration many good connections were made with the leaders of other Organisations and Societies, so future partnership working and collaboration will be a possibility. Many at the Summit were aware of the DRS, and very positive about its participation at the event. For those that were unaware, the Design Research Society will now be on their horizon. The DRS’s contribution to the Summit, and participation going forward, will mean an increased level of influence on the world design stage.
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