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  • Anna Talley posted an article
    This DRSelects features reflections from IAC member Sampsa Hyysalo on participatory and codesign. see more

    To share research interests, put faces to names within the DRS governance and highlight contents of the Digital Library, the Design Research Society is launching a new series called ‘DRSelects’. As part of this series, DRS International Advisory Council or Executive Board member will share a selection of pieces from the Digital Library that relate to any subject of their choosing. Through their exploration, they will share a few words about the works they’ve chosen and how it relates to their research and broader DRS initiatives. In this edition, we have reflections from International Advisory Council Member Sampsa Hyysalo.

    Expanding participatory design and codesign in time, space and scope 

    Design researchers and practitioners alike have come to grasp that it is a great idea to involve users and other stakeholders in design. The practice of conducting codesign in face-to-face workshops supported by work analysis, visioning and design ideation tools became mainstream during the first decade of this millennium. But just as it did so, codesign and participatory design already started to change for good. All the insights about early stage f2f codesign continue to be highly relevant, and the DRS Digital Library holds a nice trail of conference papers on key themes in the expansion of codesign and participatory design. Botero et al. ‘Expanding Design Space: Design-In-Use Activities and Strategies’ from DRS 2020 opens up the themes of why and how participatory design should and could be moved from early concept design to continued design-in-use at the sites of use. For one, this addresses the common dilemma in participatory design efforts: that they tend to initiallly thrive but then wither once the designers leave – so maybe the designers should not leave! It equally addresses users’ difficulties during concept design in anticipating how exactly their work (or everyday life) ought to be changed – so maybe instead we should give them tools to try in their own settings so they can elaborate better during the codesign process! Continuing this line of work, Saad-Sulonen et al.’s 2021 Nordes paper ‘On DIY cloth face masks and Scalar relationships in design’ traces collective design through a taxonomy of what all users have been found to design during use, and in so doing, shows the power of temporally, spatially and actor-wise expanded design approaches. 

    Parallel to the collective design being organized differently in time and space is of course the whole movement of designer-user collectives in digital and digital-physical design. The DRS Digital Library holds great many good examples of this from different areas of design, but I decided to highlight a recent piece from 2020 DRS by Särmäkari & Vänskä ‘Open-Source Philosophy in Fashion Design: Contesting Authorship Conventions and Professionalism’ as it shows how these alternative ways of organizing (co)design are now invading even the last bastions of authorship-prone-design.  

    Finally, the expansion of participatory design has not only been in how it is re-orchestrated, but also in the nature of issues it addresses. Codesign and participatory design have been used to solve problems and raise issues in countless empirical domains. But recently, they have crossed with long-term sustainability transitions that require typically hundreds of intertwined societal actions to proceed. Such change cannot be designed. There is no one solution or any one vision that will fix the problems. Yet design has much to contribute as the DRS 2018 piece by Gaziulusoy & Erdoğan ‘design as a catalyst for sustainability transitions’ illustrates. Furthermore, codesign for transitions has proven particularly vital in orchestrating diverse stakeholders in knowledge sharing, pathway building and envisioning across perspectives and competencies in typically several months long serial processes. An early piece on this work can be found in the same DRS 2018 proceedings Hyysalo et al. (2018) Catalysing Pathway Creation for Transition Governance. 

    I purposefully made all my five picks from DRS Digital Library from among the works from Aalto University, just to demonstrate the power of DRS Digital Library – there is so much good material there that most of the main contours of any changing subfield can be represented from just the contributions of a single school.  

    Sampsa Hyysalo is professor of codesign at Aalto University, department of Design. His research examines designer-user relations in sociotechnical change. This includes interest in areas such as participatory design, codesign, open and user innovation, open design, peer knowledge creation, citizen science, and particularly their deployment in furthering environmental sustainability. Sampsa is DRS international advisory council member and regularly chooses DRS conferences and affiliated journals as the venues to present and publish his work. 

    Botero, A., Kommonen, K., and Marttila, S. (2010) Expanding Design Space: Design-In-Use Activities and Strategies, in Durling, D., Bousbaci, R., Chen, L, Gauthier, P., Poldma, T., Roworth-Stokes, S. and Stolterman, E (eds.), Design and Complexity - DRS International Conference 2010, 7-9 July, Montreal, Canada. 

    Gaziulusoy, A., and Erdoğan Öztekin, E. (2018) Design as a Catalyst for Sustainability Transitions, in Storni, C., Leahy, K., McMahon, M., Lloyd, P. and Bohemia, E. (eds.), Design as a catalyst for change - DRS International Conference 2018, 25-28 June, Limerick, Ireland.

    Hyysalo, S., Perikangas, S., Marttila, T., and Auvinen, K. (2018) Catalysing Pathway Creation for Transition Governance, in Storni, C., Leahy, K., McMahon, M., Lloyd, P. and Bohemia, E. (eds.), Design as a catalyst for change - DRS International Conference 2018, 25-28 June, Limerick, Ireland.

    Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Andrea Botero, Mille Rosendahl Hansen (2021) On Diy Cloth Face Masks And Scalar Relationships In Design, No 9 (2021): Nordes 2021: Matters Of Scale, Issn 1604-9705

     Särmäkari, N., and Vänskä, A. (2020) Open-Source Philosophy in Fashion Design: Contesting Authorship Conventions and Professionalism, in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy - DRS International Conference 2020, 11-14 August, Held online.

     March 05, 2023
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    Introducing DRSelects! see more

    To share research interests, put faces to names within the DRS governance and highlight contents of the Digital Library, the Design Research Society is launching a new series called ‘DRSelects’. As part of this series, DRS International Advisory Council or Executive Board member will share a selection of pieces from the Digital Library that relate to any subject of their choosing. Through their exploration, they will share a few words about the works they’ve chosen and how it relates to their research and broader DRS initiatives. First up, we have Stella Boess, Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology and DRS International Advisory Council member

    To kick off this new series in which DRS International Advisory Council and Executive Board members explore the DRS Digital Library (DL), I’m happy to dive right in. I take it as an opportunity to seek out some papers that interest me in looking back and forward. In browsing the DL, it inspires me to understand better the positioning in design research of my own research questions, which revolve around the relationship between design and use, inclusivity and emerging technologies.

    The DRS Digital Library, launched in 2020, mainly through the dedicated efforts of Darren Umney and Peter Lloyd, has some excellent functionalities to find, download and reference DRS proceedings and other design research sources over the years. Research papers are directly downloadable and citable, evidencing a commitment to open science. 

    By digitalising DRS conference proceedings and related documents dating back to 1971, The Digital Library makes available an important part of the history of the relatively young discipline of design research – right back to the first DRS conference proceedings. From those initial conceptual and methodical origins that engaged broadly with the relevance of design, the design research field went on for some time to engage much more with the industrial context of design - how to understand and improve it, and how to understand product user needs. An example might be Chamorro-Koc, Popovicand Emmison (2004) who sought to describe the context of use and user's experience through an exploratory study in the product design domain. While the scope widened again, valuable efforts still continue to define and improve the relationship between design and use, for example in studies of how the user is represented in the practice of architects (Van der Linden, Dong, and Heylighen, 2016). Acharya and Wu (2020)’s paper, in contrast, is a highly evocative and personal example of a completely different approach to design research. Perhaps it is just as important an approach: using design itself as a catalyst to reveal circumstances and dynamics in society.

    The DRS Digital Library also reflects the DRS conference series’ ambition to champion both quality and inclusiveness. Quality is sought by striving to conduct in-depth as well as fair review procedures. Inclusiveness is sought by embracing the breadth of topics and approaches of interest to design researchers. This has not always gone smoothly, as Leitão and Noel (2020) explain in their editorial of the new Pivot conference series:

    “Usually, designs and designers from colonized countries, marginalized and indigenous communities and minorities (the so-called Global South) are judged as “less good” than their counterparts from the GlobalNorth —probably because they are not completely aligned with the “grammar” and values of the Western template. We started in this line of work at the DRS2018 conference, when we chaired (with Dr. Aija Freimane) the track “Not just from the Centre: Multiple voices in Design”.”

    I followed the sessions in this track at DRS2018, along with many others, and learned new perspectives. I look forward to seeing future work in the DL that explores these avenues further. Turtle (2022) highlights a related key challenge for the future, which is to investigate “the increasing complexity and dynamism of (socio)technical systems that actively learn”, through AI. Turtle proposes “queering as a strategy that may help subvert existing sociotechnical systems and codings of hegemonic worldviews”. I look forward to seeing – and hopefully, participating in - future design research that develops strategies such as these. 

    Happy to hand over the baton now to the next IAC member, and curious to hear of their research interests!

    Stella Boess is Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology interested in inclusion in relation to designed systems in the areas of sustainability, mobility, health. She is a DRS International Advisory Council member and was one of the three chairs of the DRS2020 conference, chairing the paper review procedure. She regularly chooses DRS conferences as the forum to publish – for example her and a colleague’s recent paper “Values arising from participatory inclusive design in a complex process”. (Jansen and Boess, 2022). 


    Acharya, K., and Wu, Y. (2020) “Where is your other half?”: A Wedding shaped by the Profile, Politics and Potential of the Indo-China Border, in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy - DRS International Conference 2020, 11-14 August, Held online.

    Boess, S., and Jansen, F. (2022) Values arising from participatory inclusive design in a complex process, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.

    Chamorro-Koc, M., Popovic, V., and Emmison, M. (2004) Context of Use and User's Experience: An Exploratory Study in the Product Design Domain., in Redmond, J., Durling, D. and de Bono, A (eds.), Futureground - DRS International Conference 2004, 17-21 November, Melbourne, Australia.

    Leitão, R.,and Noel, L.(2020) Pivot 2020: Editorial, in Leitão, R., Noel, L. and Murphy, L. (eds.), Pivot 2020: Designing a World of Many Centers - DRS Pluriversal Design SIG Conference, 4 June, held online.

    Turtle, G.L. (2022) Mutant in the mirror: Queer becomings with AI, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.

    Van der Linden, V., Dong, H., and Heylighen, A. (2016) Capturing architects’ designerly ways of knowing about users: Exploring an ethnographic research approach, in Lloyd, P. and Bohemia, E. (eds.), Future Focused Thinking - DRS International Conference 2016, 27 - 30 June, Brighton, United Kingdom.

     January 12, 2023
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    Q&A with Thomas Markussen and Eva Brandt, two of the organisers of Nordes 2021. see more

    The entire catalogue of the Nordes conferences is now available on the DRS Digital Library. To get some more insight into this conference series, we spoke with Thomas Markussen and Eva Brandt, two of the organisers, about the conference's aims, the theme of this past year's conference 'Matters of Scale' and what it means to have the proceedings uploaded to the Digital Library.


    What is the Nordes conference? How did it begin and who was involved? What is your role? What are the conference’s main aims and structure?

    Nordes – which is an abbreviation for Nordic Design Research – was established in 2005 when design researchers from the Nordic countries decided to organise the first Nordic Design Research Conference which welcomed all kinds of design research as opposed to more narrowly defined research conferences.
    The ambition of Nordes is to be a vital inspirational platform that gathers practitioners and scholars interested in design research no matter if one come from for instance the so-called artistic institutions, from universities, polytechnical universities, business schools or is an independent scholar. Over the years, Nordes has attracted still more contributions and participants from the rest of the world. Today, it is acknowledged as an international conference of the highest academic standards.
    The Nordes Board is responsible for organizing the conference and all activities happning inbetween. The members of the Nordes board changes continuously as it consists of the previous and present conference’s General and Programme Chairs, as well as representatives from the Nordic countries not otherwise covered by those functions. For the Nordes´21 conference, Eva Brandt and Thomas Markussen acted as General Chairs together with Programme Chairs Eva Berglund, Guy Julier and Per Linde.
    In addition to organising the biannual Nordes Conferences, the Nordes Board also arranges PhD Summer Schools the year between the conferences. Nordes promotes the publication and dissemination of design research through the open access Nordes Digital Archive ( and the DRS Digital Library (


    Can you provide a brief summary of the theme ‘Matters of Scale’? What did you envision when announcing this theme? How did authors respond?

    The notion of scale is critical in design. Designers are often invited to upscale their efforts to help solve the big challenges facing our societies and the planet. But just as often, the idea of upscaling is met with a scepticism and requirements to evaluate, document and account for design-initiated change. Moreover, it has become evident over the decades that upscaling is not always the key and will not lead to the solutions needed to address the challenges proliferating in our troubled times. On the contrary, the urge to upscale itself arises out of the beliefs and ideologies of Modern Design that are largely responsible for the distress that we – and our descendants – will have to deal with.

    Alternative and critical notions of scale may provide new explanatory power for understanding how design and sustainable future-making are practiced in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world. This is a world where the forces that condition design – markets, economies, politics, migration, pandemics – change and articulate in unexpected ways, not least due to processes of neoliberalisation, globalisation, and the normalisation of digital technologies. And with the advent of Big Data and AI, life is now surveilled, exploited, and proactively speculated upon at unprecedented scales.

    As scale is a feature of all systems, artefacts and organisms, understanding scales may provide designers and design researchers with significant insights in how to practice design for change. This raises a range of questions, such as how can design research be used to explore the interconnected aspects of scales and make them visible? What kinds of scalar relationships does design involve and how does – or might – design research identify, study and problematise these? What research methods and conceptual frameworks exist - or need to be developed - for enquiring into the multiple implications of scales in the world of design?

    These and others questions were interestingly addressed by the key note speakers and design research authors representing most of the design disciplines.


    Where else might people turn if they want to learn more about some of the themes and issues that have been discussed at the conferences?  
    The conference proceedings is now available at both DRS Digital Library ( and the Nordes Archive

    The conference theme is dealt with explicitly and at length in Jamer Hunt’s recently published book Not to scale How the Small Becomes Large, the Large Becomes Unthinkable, and the Unthinkable Becomes Possible. Hunt was invited as one out of three keynote speakers at Nordes’21.
    Also, as an off-spring of Nordes’21, the editors of Artifact: Journal of Design Practice have decided to make a special issue on Matters of Scale. The call for papers has been distributed widely and we hope the rich discussions that were initiated at Nordes´21 will continue and proliferate in this issue.


    Do you have plans for future Nordes conference? Can you give us any details?
    The future planning of the next Nordes 2023 conference is in full swing. The conference will be hosted for the first time by Linköping University in Sweden and Stefan Holmlid, Jonas Löwgren, Vanessa Rodrigues and Carl Westin have set up a strong organizing committee which, we are sure,  will come out with a timely and interesting theme and call for submission in the fall 2022.


    What do you see as the benefits of having the proceedings uploaded to the Digital Library? 
    Having Open Access to a library that collects high quality design research from numerous conferences and design communities is invaluable for the further development of the field. With its database and search engine the DRS Digital Library provides for instance the opportunity to cross-search for publications on topics and authors in both the DRS and Nordes Proceedings. Consider for instance a topic like “design and politics”. Searching for it, you will find articles going back as far as 2004 dealing with it from various disciplinary perspectives. And the Library as a whole includes proceedings and publications dating back to the 1970s. If knowledge production is, among other things, about realizing that you are standing on the shoulders of others, then this is very helpful. You can look at how a topic has been treated theoretically and methodologically, or - if you are a design historian - how a research area emerge, evolve and change over time. Moreover, since the Digital Library includes contributions from scholars from all over the world, it also provides a unique possibility of getting insights into how design research is practiced in different contextual and institutional settings. The benefit for contributors of Nordes is the likelihood of reaching out to an even broader crowd of readers and peers.

  • Anna Talley posted an article
    The DRS is seeking a new Publications Editor to help manage the new digital library. see more

    Following the successful launch of the new DRS Digital library in December 2020, we seek a new Publications Editor to further consolidate the extensive research content associated with DRS conferences and other relevant design research venues. Our vision is to make the DRS Digital Library the main hub for all design research publications. This will provide increased value to the membership and more clearly define the purpose of the Society to external audiences. The role will be key in helping the Society to meet its strategic objectives of international growth and increasing influence in the coming years.


    Role Summary

    The Publications Editor will use their archiving and/or content management systems experience to work with the Online Editor, DRS Administrator, and the Executive Board to develop the library, as well as publish, manage, and archive research articles associated with the DRS and beyond. The Publications Editor will report to the Executive Board of the DRS.


    About the DRS

    The Design Research Society is an international member society founded in 1966 to enable and promote research into the process of design in all its many fields. Members of the society span a wide range of academic disciplines as well as working professionally in design practice. The DRS provides support for its membership through a quarterly newsletter, annual events, a prestigious biennial conference, student research bursaries, twelve special interest groups and growing online resources.


    Key Responsibilities

    • To upload and archive design research publications from DRS conferences and other venues as they become part of the Digital Library

    • To further develop the Digital Commons platform in collaboration with the Executive Board and others (e.g., in terms of publication formats, site structure, and accessibility)

    • To liaise with the Executive Board in meeting particular publishing or reporting needs (for example to coincide with major events such as the biennial conference)

    • To work with the Online Editor in maintaining the DRS online presence and promote DRS publications.


    Person Specification

    We seek candidates with the following attributes:

    • Experience of working with archives or content management systems (essential)

    • Experience of working in a library context (desired)

    • An interest in design research or related discipline (desired)

    • An excellent understanding of the English language (essential)

    • Good interpersonal and communication skills (essential)

    • Self-motivated, organized, and able to meet deadlines (essential)

    • A commitment to equal opportunities and inclusive practices (essential)

      It is anticipated that the role of Publications Editor will take 6 hours per week on average, attracting a monthly salary of GBP 520 (or equivalent).


    How to Apply

    Applications should be in the form of a short CV (2 pages max) and covering letter outlining why you are suited to the role. Completed applications should be emailed to the DRS Administrator ( by the deadline of Tuesday 25th May.

    For an informal discussion about the role please contact Anna Vallgårda, Member of the Executive Board, at
    Further information about the Digital Library and Design Research Society can be found at the following links:

    DRS Digital Library:

    DRS Website:

     April 26, 2021
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Open-access hub for all things design research see more

    Launch of the New DRS Digital Library

    We are very proud to present the new DRS Digital Library. It is an open-access hub for all things design research. It includes the full back-catalogue of DRS conferences (1971-2020) and research outcomes from many DRS SIG events. We are working to expand the content even further and will host publications and materials from design research events across the world.

    DRS Executive Board member, Anna Vallgårda, is leading the Digital Library and said “I cannot express enough how exciting this is! It is a big deal for the design research community. It will provide consistent access to materials and will help consolidate design research as an independent and maturing research discipline.”

    DRS Chair,  Peter Lloyd, also added: “the new Digital Library is a key part of the DRS strategy going forward. We are focussed on increasing the quality of design research through our peer-reviewed conferences and events, and by providing a central repository for design research publications.”

    The Digital Library is built on the Bepress Digital Commons platform from Elsevier Science. This makes research materials easier to access, cite and explore. All content is listed with full DOI information, will be searchable and citable in Google Scholar, and makes full use of the range of referencing and citation analytics that Elsevier offers. Authors of recent papers can receive monthly readership reports and anybody can set up an account which will allow them to save searches and set up alerts on relevant new material when it's uploaded.

    Be sure to visit the DRS Digital library at and follow #DRSLibrary on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

    Conference organisers and journal editors should contact DRS Publications and Archives Editor, Darren Umney to inquire about adding design research material to the collection.

     December 16, 2020
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Darren will consolidate and develop the historic and ongoing publishing activities of the DRS see more

    Introducing Darren Umney, DRS Publications and Archive Editor

    The DRS is pleased to announce the appointment of Darren Umney as Publications and Archive Editor. Darren will take responsibility for consolidating and developing the historic and ongoing publishing activities of the DRS with a particular focus on academic papers, reports and conference proceedings.

    Darren will join the DRS support team that includes Online Editor Isabel Prochner and Administrator Linda Anderson. The support team works with the DRS Council and manages the day-to-day operations of the Society.  

    Darren began his career as an artist and has experience in film making, performance art, exhibition curation and online newspaper publishing. In addition to his role with the DRS, he works as Associate and Managing Editor of the Journal of Cultural Economy. He received his PhD from the Open University (UK) in 2016. His thesis explored the implications of studying parliamentary debate, and positioned the parliamentary process as a design process.

    Darren received a DRS 50th Anniversary Student Bursary, which he used to uncover the archaeological history of the Society. He also conducted an online performance—tweeting retrospectively about early DRS conferences. This work contributes to the growing DRS archive and was presented at DRS2016 in Brighton.

    As Publications and Archive Editor, Darren is looking forward to consolidating his historical exploration of the Society. He also has an important role sharing past, present and future DRS work with members.

     December 02, 2019
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Open-access digital library for all DRS publications and archive material see more

    New DRS Digital Library in the Works

    The DRS recently subscribed to the Bepress Digital Commons platform, run by Elsevier Science, to create an open-access digital library for all DRS publications and archive material. Digital Commons is used by many leading universities, societies and organisations around the world to manage institutional research publication needs (see full list). We will use this new platform to publish papers from new and existing conference proceedings as well as for historical material associated with the Society.

    The Digital Commons platform will make DRS publications much easier to access, cite, and explore, taking advantage of a broad range of referencing and citation analytics that Elsevier has to offer. Many DRS publications are currently available here, but the webpage is somewhat limited and difficult to search for individual papers. The new platform also provides an opportunity to expand DRS publishing activities.​​

    We are currently customising the platform with a planned launch in several months. 

    Stay tuned for updates, sneak peaks and the official launch!

    If you would like to know more, please contact the publications and archives editor Darren Umney at: