DRSelects: Dan Lockton on design tools for imagination and critical co-investigation. see more
In this DRSelects, we speak with Dan Lockton, DRS Executive Board member, on his DRS Digital Library selections emphasising design tools for imagination and critical co-investigation.
Hello, I’m Dan Lockton. I was elected to the DRS Executive Board in 2022, after serving on the International Advisory Council since 2020. I was involved in a small way with the organisation of DRS 2016 in Brighton, and then was the programme committee chair for DRS 2022 in Bilbao and online. My first DRS conference was DRS 2014 in Umeå, which was such a refreshing and engaging experience as a participant that it set me on a course of gradually becoming more involved in the DRS’s activities: it is a friendly community. I live in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, but am originally from Devon, UK.
My current research centres on creating and using design tools for participatory (re-) imagining: helping people, together, create and explore possible futures, imagine new ways to live, and understand ourselves, technologies, and the world around us better, in an age of crises in climate and social inequalities. As part of this line of work, I am a co-chair of the DRS 2024 track ‘Designing (for) Transitions and Transformations: Imagination, Climate Futures, and Everyday Lives’ with Femke Coops and a great team of fellow co-chairs. We hope this track will bring together the DRS community around Transition Design, imaginaries, and futures. In the past, I have worked a lot on topics such as design for behaviour change (particularly around sustainability), mental models, design and energy use, some unusual interfaces using sonification or more qualitative approaches, and even questions of the haunted and spooky in technology. In design academia I have been lucky enough to work for a variety of institutions—Brunel, Warwick, and the Royal College of Art in the UK, Carnegie Mellon in the USA, and currently TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands—and have seen a range of quite different approaches to design research and education (and what is valued).
Throughout my academic career, I have tried to maintain at least partially one foot in design practice, through the Imaginaries Lab, which publishes tools such as New Metaphors, and also running workshops and giving talks at ‘industry’ events such as the IxDA conferences, indeed using these to do research where possible. My aim in my own future is to try to take this hybrid studio model much more seriously as a platform, a way of bringing together research, education, and action in the world—I am increasingly uncertain that our existing academic institutions are suited to the challenges the world faces.
Could you talk about the initiatives you’re involved with in the DRS and any upcoming events you’d like to share?
The DRS Digital Library has been one of the most impressive initiatives I have seen from the DRS over the past few years. As part of the Executive Board over the last year, I have been organising a working group including members of the International Advisory Council in which we are exploring future directions for the library—how could it evolve? What features might be possible? Could it, in time, become the starting-point for exploring design research of all kinds, connecting contemporary and historical publications across fields and venues? Having now seen behind the scenes, and the amount of work that Peter Lloyd, Lenny Martinez Dominguez, and everyone else involved has put in to build and maintain the library, I am very aware of the constraints that this kind of platform involves, but also, as so often with design, those constraints can inspire creative possibilities! One of our upcoming plans is to do some ‘user research’ with DRS members and other users of the library, to understand what works, what doesn’t, and to learn from people’s ideas, so watch this space.
What do you see as the benefits of being involved with the DRS and how can those interested become more involved in the Society?
It can be lonely doing research, especially if you don’t have a community around you. DRS is a way to ‘find the others’, to become part of an international group connecting people, ideas, and institutions. The SIGs can be a great way to meet passionate people with similar interests in design, and attending the conferences (whether you are able to take part online, or in-person) can really help with meeting people and sharing ideas. But in terms of becoming more involved in the Society itself, I would recommend getting in touch with any of us on the Executive Board or International Advisory Council with your ideas.
Please choose five items from the DRS Digital Library that you'd like to highlight.
If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have probably picked out papers much more directly focused on topics related to how I saw my research at the time—design theory and design practice (and the links between them), and design’s intersections with other fields, such as sustainability and politics. But the reality of everyday life as a ‘design academic’ for many of us is that educational activities (teaching), and facilitating workshops with groups (project partners, members of the public, etc) are often the main opportunities to do ‘research’ as part of our jobs. I know I’m not the only one with this experience.
Devising new ways to support people in sparking and materialising imagination—helping people imagine, explore, and experience different ways of thinking and being, for themselves and society more widely, or applying (or developing) theory to particular contexts in the world, is a shared aim of many educational and ‘knowledge exchange’ activities in design—and indeed a significant part of design’s role in society’s transitions to more sustainable and just futures, if we are able to do it. Perhaps naïvely, I like to think that this is a way that design can contribute to enabling hope in times of crisis, part of the scope of imagination infrastructuring in Cassie Robinson’s term. The long traditions of co-design and participatory design (together with the kinds of ‘convivial’ design tools as named by Liz Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers (2012), following Ivan Illich), of course can have something in common with the more transformative, liberatory approach to education and practice offered by, for example, Paulo Freire’s (1970) notion of students (or perhaps ‘participants’) as “critical co-investigators”. Design methods can support us all becoming critical co-investigators of our worlds.
So, after exploration of different parts of the Digital Library, I have chosen seven items (it was hard enough to reduce my much longer list down this far, let alone to five!) from recent years which are each, in their own way, inspirational for me in engaging with design methods and activities in this way. A type of paper that is particularly well-represented in the DRS Digital Library (compared to, say, the ACM Digital Library, which I also use regularly) is what we might call a report on what people are doing and what they’re thinking about—a kind of ‘work in progress’ but also an example of (as I understand it) something like what Bill Gaver (2012) called “theories that are provisional, contingent, and aspirational” in design, “an endless string of design examples,” not necessarily in the form of annotated portfolios of artefacts, but discursive glimpses of how other people are thinking and acting through design processes. These papers are offerings to the field, in a way, not (usually) claiming generalisability at all, but rather hinting at possibilities (often with an abductive kind of reasoning), propositional hooks for others to latch onto and build on. These are one of the kinds of conference papers that I think the DRS community does well—and which are much less common at self-consciously “prestigious” conferences such as CHI where they may struggle to make it past reviewers determined to quash such non-normative epistemologies.
The first paper I have chosen is Lesley-Ann Noel’s Envisioning a pluriversal design education (2020), from the Pluriversal Design SIG’s Pivot 2020 conference. It is inspiring because of its aim to “make a case for locally developed curricula” in design, “built around the experiences of people from the Global South”, rather than the default transposition to everywhere on Earth of industry-focused curricula (that are not even, honestly, appropriate in the Global North either, in an age of climate crisis). The approach that Lesley-Ann takes is really rooted in design as being a way for people to take action in their worlds, to propose (or act) in ways that embody critique of the systems around them. Via a set of five ‘sketches’ of different types of curriculum that “separate design education from innovation or consumption, and instead focus on identity, agency, culture, and building thinking skills”—including design education “through a decolonial lens”, “a design curriculum that celebrates a pan-African identity”, and “a curriculum for ‘vulnerable economies’”—she gives us an inspirational set of starting-points for doing things differently.
In a related vein, also at the intersection of critical pedagogy and design, Insurgent Design Coalitions: The history of the Design & Oppression network by Frederick van Amstel, Batista e Silva Sâmia, Bibiana Oliveira Serpa, Mazzarotto Marco, Ricardo Artur Carvalho, and Rodrigo Freese Gonzatto (2021) describes the development of a design coalition in Brazil, the Design & Oppression Network. The coalition aimed to “establish bonds of solidarity between all the struggles against oppression, taking design as a tool, space, or issue” in the context of “the Latin-American reality” and carrying out “educational actions” during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic: weekly online study group meetings discussing how the works of authors such as bell hooks, Frantz Fanon, and Augusto Boal could be related to design—but also a surrounding network of care and mutual aid. As the paper notes, “actors do not coalesce only by sharing interests but by helping each other in their struggles”. Through experimenting with the affordances of Discord, the group created new structures for discussion and participation, including the role of a complicatorrather than a facilitator. The paper—presented at the Pluriversal Design SIG’s Pivot 2021 conference—discusses the ongoing repercussions and developments the network instigated, across educational institutions in Brazil and internationally. Aside from the practicalities of work itself being inspirational, I found it especially important to recognise the point made that “if design research wants to have productive engagements with social movements” this should not be about “instrumentalising (and watering down)” the forms of real social movements and forms of organising, as is sometimes seen in social design (and which I recognise, guiltily, having done a bit of myself).
Care is also part of my third choice from the Digital Library, Sasha de Koninck and Laura Devendorf’s Objects of Care (2022), from the main DRS 2022 Bilbao conference proceedings. The paper discusses a card deck (with some unusual features) used in a workshop activity through which people’s attention is turned towards their own bodily interactions with textiles and other materials—a practice of noticing the ways in which materials ‘notice’ the bodies that use them. There are elements in the paper which resonate with my own research, from card decks to metaphors to the ways in which use and wear create qualitative displays of objects’ own interaction histories (autographic design, in Dietmar Offenhuber’s term (2023)). But two things really intrigued me about Sasha and Laura’s paper. Their focus on “prompting people to take time with the old and ‘gross’ and see them as rich historical artefacts, a kind of archaeology of the body constructed through the marks and smells it left on textiles” is distinctive in a field so dominated by idolising the new, and again it is very much an activity that meets people where they are, in the messy, worn contexts of their own lives, and supports being vulnerable together, as doable by students as by scientists or societal stakeholders. And secondly, the practical design choices made with the cards, one suit of which—inspired by Sister Corita Kent’s ‘viewfinder’ idea (Kent & Steward, 1992)—included holes through which participants could focus on particular details, a form of ‘deep looking’ in Sasha and Laura’s terms. This is such a powerful idea, which we also see for different purposes in examples such as John Willshire’s Where the Light Gets In kit, but which also, as a metaphor, seems important for considering in transformative design (education) more generally. Viewfinders that help us take different views, to notice what we don’t notice, from interactions to infrastructure, are surely part of a critically-informed practice.
My fourth choice, Theory instruments: Helping designers see the invisible by Jacob Buur, Mette Kjærsgaard, Franciska Fellegi, Sisse Schaldemose, and Tom Djajadiningrat (2023), from the Nordes 2023 conference, and fifth choice, Feral Ways of Knowing and Doing: Tools and resources for transformational creative practice by Cristina Ampatzidou, Markéta Dolejšová, Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, and Andrea Botero (2021), from Pivot 2021, are both about practical workshop activities. In the Theory Instruments paper, students try to ‘materialise’ theories (from anthropology, STS, and related fields) through iterations of building physical models, in which materials, layouts, structures and interactions between elements come to physicalise aspects of the theoretical constructs and frameworks. This work was exciting to see: as something like a form of qualitative constructive data physicalisation, it parallels some of what Lisa Brawley, Manuela Aguirre Ulloa, Matt Prindible, Laura Forlano, Karianne Rygh, John Fass, Katie Herzog, Bettina Nissen and myself tried to explore with our work on tangible thinking and thinking with things, but with a much more focused link to theory. The value of people using real materials to express their understanding of abstract concepts—and together come closer to understanding each other’s understanding—is a large part of my current work with the Centre for Unusual Collaborations in the Netherlands, where facilitating (or perhaps complicating!) unusual collaborations between disciplines often involves a creative process of people coming to see each other’s worldviews (and perhaps reflect on their own). It was this creative crossdisciplinary aspect (among others) that also appealed to me about the activities in the Feral Ways of Knowing and Doing paper, in which creative practitioners shared tools and resources that they considered to embody a ‘feral’ approach, “broadly denot[ing] the alternative, experimental, more-than-human, and wild, challenging the dominant ontological and epistemological discourses”, building on the use of the term by authors such as Anna Tsing, Mike Michael, and Genevieve Bell. The activities included range from psychogeographic explorations, to mask-making and live action role play techniques—tantalisingly brief in their descriptions, but all worth following up to understand better.
My final two selections both play with the forms of academic conferences and publishing themselves. It has been observed a few times over the years in different ways that design academia, at least as practised in conventional universities, very often does not seem to apply very much from its own research. We labour in university systems that are not co-designed, and barely even designed at all, while espousing the value of design. We talk about creativity, play, expression, constructivist epistemologies, while subjecting our students to centralised, bureaucratic systems of assessment modelled on quantifying learning outcomes. These two final papers describe experiments with doing something different. John Fass, Tyler Fox, and Alastair Steele’s The Echoing River (2022) made use of the venue of DRS 2022, in Bilbao, to run a 10-day “sonic placemaking” experiment in the city itself, via the new model of DRS Labs, with participants (local, and visitors) collaborating with local organisations to “activat[e] abandoned and overlooked public spaces in creative ways” through designing and creating installations and experiences using sound, materials, and spaces to reflect Bilbao’s histories and possible futures. I was one of those visitors during the conference—astonished by the amount of creative work and the kind of event that could take place during a design conference, an “experiential counterpoint” to the sitting in (albeit very stimulating of course) conference rooms and watched people’s PowerPoint presentations. The paper nevertheless demonstrates just how much work and organisation goes into this kind of endeavour.
Equally, and finally, I was taken by David Green, Joseph Lindley, Enrique Encinas, Mayane Dore, Jesse Josua Benjamin, and Spyros Bofylatos’s Ways of seeing design research: A polyphonic speculation (2023), which takes something of a meta-level approach to the form of how design research itself could be presented differently (and in much more designerly ways, frankly). Practically, the suggestion to think as much about research programmes—"emphasising the connective tissue” between individual projects (or indeed papers)—is very appealing to me. I won’t spoil the fun of reading the paper by explaining each of the authors’ six very creative ‘speculations’ here, but in opening up questions of how (and why) design research could be shared in new ways, they provide a useful point of reflexivity for how we might think about evolving the DRS Digital Library in the years ahead.
Whatever criticisms we might have of design’s over-belief in its ability to “save the world”, I still believe that designers, in general, do have skills that can enable people to share and externalise their thinking with others, and turn ideas into forms that people can engage with. We can help to prefigure plural possible futures, in the present, by actually enacting them, and that includes ways of teaching, learning, and investigating together as much as it does creating prototypes of products.
References from the DRS Digital Library
Cristina Ampatzidou, Markéta Dolejšová, Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, and Andrea Botero (2021). Feral Ways of Knowing and Doing: Tools and resources for transformational creative practice, in Leitão, R.M., Men, I., Noel, L-A., Lima, J., Meninato, T. (eds.), Pivot 2021: Dismantling/Reassembling, 22-23 July, Toronto, Canada. https://doi.org/10.21606/pluriversal.2021.0016
Frederick van Amstel, Batista e Silva Sâmia, Bibiana Oliveira Serpa, Mazzarotto Marco, Ricardo Artur Carvalho, and Rodrigo Freese Gonzatto (2021). Insurgent Design Coalitions: The history of the Design & Oppression network, in Leitão, R.M., Men, I., Noel, L-A., Lima, J., Meninato, T. (eds.), Pivot 2021: Dismantling/Reassembling, 22-23 July, Toronto, Canada.https://doi.org/10.21606/pluriversal.2021.0018
Jacob Buur, Mette Kjærsgaard, Franciska Fellegi, Sisse Schaldemose, and Tom Djajadiningrat (2023). Theory instruments: Helping designers see the invisible, in Holmlid, S., Rodrigues, V., Westin, C., Krogh, P. G., Mäkelä, M., Svanaes, D., Wikberg-Nilsson, Å (eds.), Nordes 2023: This Space Intentionally Left Blank, 12-14 June, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden.https://doi.org/10.21606/nordes.2023.128
John Fass, Tyler Fox, and Alastair Steele (2022). The echoing river: A DRS 2022 Lab, in Lockton, D., Lloyd, P., Lenzi, S. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.863
David Green, Joseph Lindley, Enrique Encinas, Mayane Dore, Jesse Josua Benjamin, and Spyros Bofylatos (2023). Ways of seeing design research: A polyphonic speculation, in Holmlid, S., Rodrigues, V., Westin, C., Krogh, P. G., Mäkelä, M., Svanaes, D., Wikberg-Nilsson, Å (eds.), Nordes 2023: This Space Intentionally Left Blank, 12-14 June, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden. https://doi.org/10.21606/nordes.2023.96
Sasha de Koninck and Laura Devendorf (2022). Objects of care, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.440
Lesley-Ann Noel (2020). Envisioning a pluriversal design education, 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. https://doi.org/10.21606/pluriversal.2020.021
Paulo Freire (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (translated by Myra Bergman Ramos). New York: Seabury Press.
William Gaver (2012). What should we expect from research through design? Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 937–946. https://doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208538
Corita Kent and Jan Steward (1992). Learning by Heart. New York: Bantam Books
Dietmar Offenhuber (2023). Autographic Design: The Matter of Data in a Self-Inscribing World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Elizabeth B-N Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers (2012). Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design. Amsterdam: BIS.
DRSelects: Peter Lloyd, Founder of the DRS Digitial Library. see more
1. Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.
I've been associated with the DRS for longer than I care to remember! - nearly twenty years. In that time I've been a regular member, member of council, membership secretary, vice-chair, chair, and now treasurer on the Executive Board. I was also Editor-in-Chief for Design Studies for 6 years, before the current fiasco with Elsevier. For my research I have always been fascinated by the process of design - particularly in terms of cognition and collaboration. My main focus has been on the language that is used and generated during designing and this has led to recent studies using large language models and AI.
2. Could you talk about the initiatives you’re involved with in the DRS and any upcoming events you’d like to share?
Over the years I've been involved with many DRS initiatives but always in collaboration with others. A long time ago, I started the student bursary scheme, I organised the 50th Anniversary DRS2016 conference in Brighton as well as co-organising the 2022 conference in Bilbao, I launched the new DRS website and brand 2017, and started the Digital Library in 2020.
3. What do you see as the benefits of being involved with the DRS and how can those interested become more involved in the Society?
Being involved with the DRS means that you are part of a global network of design researchers who are all working to progress the discipline. That can certainly be done within an individual institution, but being part of the Society can give you support and confidence that you are working on things that matter. Getting involved at the level of the Advisory Council or Executive Board is very good for your career development. You get first hand experience of what it takes to run an international organisation and help guide the field of design research - a big responsibility, but also a very satisfying position to be in. I would say to people who would like to be more involved, don't wait to be asked, make a proposal and send it to the Executive Board. The future of the Society depends on people taking initiative.
The DRS Digital Library is becoming a great resource for design researchers but also for people wanting to find out what design research is. We are approaching half a million downloads and continue to add more papers and publications.
My five choices are:
1. Nicholas Negroponte - Aspects of Living in an Architecture Machine
My first choice reflects the rich history of the DRS and the people that were involved in the early conferences, many of whom went on to be very well known. This paper is from the 'Design Participation' conference, held in 1971 with proceedings edited by Nigel Cross. Nicholas Negroponte went on to co-found and direct the MIT Media Lab but here he writes as an Assistant Professor of Architecture. To quote from the paper: “Participation and computation have a commonality that is often not dramatized […] they both are involved with methods of designing that in some sense shortcircuit or replace the services of a professional architect”.
The paper is sketchy - illustrating the fluidity of ideas at the time - and of its time - with some questionable cultural assumptions made - but notable for its discussion of AI. Even in 1971, AI wasn't a new thing!
The paper is from page 63-67 at the following link:
2. Susan Stewart - On reason and habit: An Aristotelian Approach to Design Theory
The La Clusaz conference on Doctoral Education in Design, held in 2000 with proceedings edited by Ken Friedman and David Durling, represents a key stage in the development of design research. The edited book links design theory with doctoral education and influenced many doctoral programmes around the world. The paper I've selected, by Susan Stewart, is a great example of clear and philosophical thinking about the nature of designing.
The paper is from page 127-132 at the following link:
3. Susanna Engbers - Branded: The Sister Arts of Rhetoric and Design
In 2013 the DRS formed an official partnership with the Cumulus organisation at a conference on Design Education in Oslo, Norway. The conference, organised by Erik Bohemia and Liv Merete Nielsen, attracted a huge number of papers and kickstarted the Learn X Design conference series. This paper by Susanna Engbers looked at how the disciplines of rhetoric and design have much to learn about each other, and to teach students.
4. Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, Signe Thomsen, and Jette Ammentorp - Designing for Democracy: Using Design Activism to Renogotiate the Roles and Rights for Patients
DRS2014 took place in Umea, Sweden and started a new direction for DRS conferences though its inclusion of new submission formats and high quality design values. It also had a lot of interesting papers. The paper I have selected is one that I regularly use in my own courses and never fails to open the eyes of students about the power relationships that exist in healthcare design processes and how to explore them. A great paper for anyone interested in design and democracy.
5. Larissa Pschetz, Michelle Bastian, and Chris Speed - Temporal Design: Looking at Time as Social Coordination
DRS2016 was the 50th Anniversary conference for the DRS and the biggest DRS conference at that time. It was great celebration of past, present, and future. This is both a conceptual and an empirical paper about notions of time in the design process. It manages to be analytical, critical, and speculative - a difficult balance to pull off. The paper is a great reminder that everything is a social construct during the process of thinking about the future through design, even the things we think of as objective.
DRSelects: Hua Dong on the Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Doctoral Education in Design (1998) see more
I am Hua Dong, Professor and Inaugural Dean of Brunel Design School. Prior to this I was Professor in Design at Loughborough University. I also worked at Tongji University as Professor at the College of Design and Innovation. Between 2014 and 2018 I was the Dean of the College of Arts and Media at Tongji University.
My PhD research at the Engineering Design Centre (EDC), University of Cambridge and Postdoctoral job at Cambridge EDC and the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at Royal College of Art laid the foundation of my research expertise in inclusive design. I share my passion and expertise through keynote speeches at international conferences, initiating new courses and research programmes, and academic and popular publications. I also have extensive experience in providing specialised research consultancy to industries in the UK, Finland and China to help designers adopt a more inclusive approach, and support companies to implement inclusive practices. For example, I led my research team at Tongji University to help Alibaba (Ant Financial) to develop the first industrial guidance in China on inclusive design.
I served as a council member of the Design Research Society (DRS) for many years. In 2019 I became DRS Fellow, and in 2020 I was elected as International Advisory Committee Member of the DRS. I am the convenor of the DRS’s Inclusive Design Special Interest Group.
I took interests in reading the digital library’s archive: the Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Doctoral Education in Design (1998).
Klaus Krippendorff argues that the development of a rich design discourse (i.e., the practical process of designing and redesigning design) should be the ‘foremost aim of a Ph.D. in Design’, and believes that ‘A Ph.D. in Design could create the kind of practical thinkers that would give design the social status it deserves.’ This view seemed to be shared by Victor Margolin, who argued that ‘design theory is at its most fundamental a theory of how design functions in society.’
Design thinking was already discussed extensively in 1998. Klaus Krippendorff shared his observation of the shift in design thinking, many of which still have resonance today, e.g.,
- From perfecting functionality to affording the enactment of multiple meanings;
- From satisfying given specifications to being accountable for intervening in an ecology of artifacts;
- From relying on past scientific findings to creating future truths, arguable paths toward viable futures.
Richard Buchanan also observed the changes; he mentioned that ‘the role of designers has expanded’, and recognised ‘greater awareness of the consequences of design within social, cultural, and natural systems and environments’, with the conclusion that ‘the way we build our doctoral programmes will, in turn, build us - and the field of design’.
Richard Buchanan states that ‘to make design knowledge explicit, general, and public, designers and design scholars have engaged in three kinds of research: design history, design criticism, and empirical and speculative inquiry’. Similarly, Victor Margolin proposed that ‘history, theory, and criticism’ should ‘play a central role in doctoral education in design’.
Richard Buchanan believes that the field of design inquiry ‘is united around a common subject and a common set of questions’, i.e.:
Our common subject is products made by human beings for practical purposes
Our common problems are how products are made, how one understands and appreciates what products are, and how we understand the consequences of products in the lives of individual and groups.
The sources for creation of a new field of inquiry, to Richard Buchanan, are ‘personal experience, history, and searching (for answers to good questions about the nature and practice of design)’. To Ezio Manzini and Silvia Pizzocaro, their hypothesis is that ‘it may be possible to conceive design research as similar to shelf innovation, accepting that it can generate "research semi-finished components" that can be shelved for future utilization.’ They think that doctoral programmes are ‘emerging places where design research can be stored’.
Sharon Helmer Poggenpohl quoted Charles Owen who stated that "Design is not science, and it is not art - or any other discipline. It has its own purposes, values, measures and procedures. These become evident through comparisons, but they have not been extensively investigated, formalized, codified or even thought much about in literature created for the field." One of the reasons of this, according to Lorraine Justice, is that
‘design "content" occurred in the studio and was supported by theories from other disciplines. We "did" design in the studio but rarely wrote about it.’
Sharon Helmer Poggenpohl further discussed the ‘outward’ and ‘inward’ approaches to defining the knowledge base of design, and suggested that ‘if we look outward to borrow from other disciplines, we need to become not only knowledgeable about the context from which the model or technique is drawn, but sensitive to differences in design's purpose and use of the model or technique.’ Consequently, this means ‘the model may need a translation or modification so that it works fluidly within the context of design. It may also mean that results from use of the technique may be limited to the context or situation under consideration.’ She observed that design teachers, researchers, and practitioners ‘often overlook the defining properties of design as they are so much a part of how we view the world and create artifacts’, thus looking inward forces them ‘to identify design's characteristics by viewing the field as an outsider might.’
She emphasised the importance of recognising the inter-relationships between practice, theory, and method, in order to ‘improve understanding(theory), performance (method), and result (practice)’.
When reading the proceedings, I strongly felt that a lot of issues discussed then are still relevant. I would recommend PhD researchers in Design to read at least three papers from the proceedings, and the recommended order is Sharon Helmer Poggenpohl, Klaus Krippendorff, and Richard Buchanan.
Buchanan, R., Doordan, D., Justice, L., and Margolin, V. (eds.) (1998) Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Doctoral Education in Design (1998), 8-11 October, Columbus, Ohio, USA, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/49
DRS IAC Member and Textiles SIG Convenor Tincuta Heinzel's DRSelects. see more
- Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.
I am Tincuta Heinzel, Senior Lecturer at Loughborough University, (UK) School of Design and Creative Arts, and elected member of the International Advisory Board of the DRS. With a background in visual arts and textiles design, cultural anthropology and ethnography, philosophy of arts and technology, as well as media studies, my research focuses on the way material and digital assemblies are informing designers’ way of working, as well as society’s ways of functioning. I am interested in arts and design epistemologies, and the philosophies of making. This is the reason why theory and practice are playing an equal place in my research. In the latest years my projects focused on electronic and reactive textiles, interactive and tangible interfaces, nanotechnologies and the new materialisms paradigms, as well as the interplay between cybernetics, AI, industry, and economy. I had the chance to work in different contexts (Romania, France, Germany, UK, USA, or Norway) and I have coordinated and curated a series of projects such as “Designano” (2020), “Utopian Cities, Programmed Societies” (http://programmed-societies.info) (2019-2020), “Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors” (2017-2018) and “Repertories of (in)discreetness” (2015-2018).
- Could you talk about the initiatives you’re involved with in the DRS and any upcoming events you’d like to share?
Recently, I became the convenor of the Interdisciplinary Textiles Design Research SIG within the DRS. The SIG brings together some of the main voices of contemporary textiles design research. The aim of the SIG is to encourages a systemic perspective that enables to reflect on textiles objects, environments, and contexts, to investigate textiles design processes and practices and the dynamics between them.
The first event of the SIG is the organization of TEXTILE INTERSECTIONS Conference which will take place between 20-23 of September 2023 at Loughborough University London Campus (https://www.textile-intersections.com). TEXTILE INTERSECTIONS is a four-day conference, doctoral consortium and exhibition explores and celebrates the nature of collaborations in textile design research through six themes: Textiles and Architecture, Textiles and Sports, Biotextiles and Sustainable Textiles, Interactive and Performative Textiles, Advanced Textiles Materials and Processes, Critical Textiles.
- What do you see as the benefits of being involved with the DRS and how can those interested become more involved in the Society?
DRS has proved over the years to be a dynamic platform for the promotion of design research. It creates the premises to connect design practices with design studies and design engineering and to bring together researchers from all over the world. The biannual DRS general conference, the establishment of SIGs, the organization of the Digital Library are just some of activities under the DRS’s umbrella which allow the exchange between peers and the support of young researchers. As a DRS member you will have the chance to discuss the latest issues related to design as profession, to contribute to the discourse related to the place of design in society, and by doing so, to become an active member of a discipline and profession whose actions have a direct impact on the way we live and we will live our lives.
- Choose 5 items from the DRS Digital Library
The selection of texts from the DRS Digital Library was driven by several topics that I would like to highlight when it comes to design research. Therefore, there are more than just 5 papers.
INTERDISCIPLINARY TEXTILES DESIGN PRACTICES
The first topic is related to textiles, more precisely to electronic and reactive textiles. In the latest 20 years there have been major changes when it comes to the way we use and interact with textiles, and the electronic and reactive textiles played an important role in the development of interactive and physical computing design practices. E-textiles require a collaborative approach and knowledge in areas such as textiles, materials sciences, electronics, and programming. Moreover, the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Textiles Design Research SIG was driven by the need to bring together the multiple facets of textiles design research. There are many inspiring papers related to textiles in the DRS Digital Library. Here are some of them:
Anne Louise Bang – Fabrics in Function - Emotional Utility Values (2007) (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1157&context=nordes).
Linnea Nilsson, Anna Vallgarda, Linda Worbin – Designing with Smart Textiles: a New Research Program (2011). (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1273&context=nordes).
Ramyah Gowrishankar, Katharina Bredies - The Music Sleeve: Fabric as an Electronic Interface Medium (2011) (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1281&context=nordes ).
Erin Lewis – Between yarns and Electrons: A Method for Designing Textural Expressions in Electromagnetic Smart Textiles (2021). (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1127&context=nordes0)
Alice Buso, Holly McQuillan, Kaspar Jansen, Elvin Karana - The unfolding of textileness in animated textiles: An exploration of woven textile-forms (2022). (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3006&context=drs-conference-papers)
The second topic I searched for in the DRS Digital Library is related to materials experiences perspective. Along with the “materials way of thinking” paradigm that defines the development of materials sciences since 1980s, the “materials experiences” paradigm helped to connect with the users’ perspective when it comes to the materials’ selection. One of the researchers that contributed to the development of this paradigm is Elvin Karana. Here is one of her texts:
Serena Camera, Elvin Karana - Experiential Characterization of Materials: toward a toolkit (2018)(https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1612&context=drs-conference-papers)
DESIGN AND PHILOSOPHY
Design and philosophy are maintaining close tights when it comes to design research in spite of the apparent tensions between theory and practice. As someone who had the chance to study under Pierre-Damien Huyghe at Paris 1 University and read his work on “Art and Industry. Philosophy of Bauhaus” (http://pierredamienhuyghe.fr/publicationsartetindustrie1.html ), I came to appreciate the philosophical stances of those involved in the establishment of the institution considered to be the first modern design’s cornerstone. From the DRS’s Digital Library, I selected three papers that discuss the relationship between design and philosophy. The first one is Betti Marenko’s inquiry into what can philosophy do for design? The second paper is Sander Mulder’s one on the place of Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy in defining responsibility in design.
Betti Marenko - Introduction: Design-ing and Creative Philosophies (2016) (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1495&context=drs-conference-papers)
Sander Mulder - Responsibility in design: applying the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon (2016).
Last, but not least I would like to mention the text of one of my colleagues, Avsar Gupinar, -Towards an object-oriented design ontology (2022). (https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3071&context=drs-conference-papers).
The last area I am discussing here is that of open research and open publication. There is no doubt that we assist to a change in the model of science mediatisation and publication. For the best! Still, this situation doesn’t come without critical points to address. Here is a text that explores the application of open design framework in the development of a more-than-human and citizen science project.
Robert Phillips & Sharon Baurley: Exploring Open Design for the Application of Citizen Science; a Toolkit Methodology (2014)
IAC Member Kees Dorst on the rich and diverse field of design research. 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 has launched a series called ‘DRSelects’. As part of this series, a 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 Kees Dorst.
Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.
I studied Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Currently, I am Professor of Transdisciplinary Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney’s TD School. I guess my contribution to design research lies in connecting a philosophical understanding of the logic of design with hands-on practice. As a bridge-builder between these two worlds, my writings on design as a way of thinking are read by both practitioners and academics. I have written several books in the field –including ‘Understanding Design’ (2003, 2006), ‘Design Expertise’ (with Bryan Lawson, 2009, 2013), 'Frame Innovation - create new thinking by design' (2015) ‘Designing for the Common Good’ (2016) and ‘Notes on Design – How Creative Practice Works’ (2017). Over the years, my focus has developed to exploring the use of designerly ways of thinking outside the traditional design domains – in particular as applied to the hyper-complex problems of the networked society. I am a member of the International Advisory Board of the Design Research Society.
Could you choose five papers from the DRS Digital Library to highlight? What do you find valuable in the DRS Digital Library?
What I find particularly valuable in the DRS library is the ability to search and trace discussions. When I started out in design research (way back in the early nineties) the field was reasonably small, and there was a sense of a community working together in a common purpose – building a methodology for design, if you want. A single person could more or less keep abreast of developments. Since then, design research has grown to be a rich and diverse field, with many discussions going on simultaneously (much more interesting, and a much better reflection of the complex world we live in as a field of practice, education and research).
When I delve into the DRS library it is often through search terms, to see who is involved in my areas of interest and get a quick sense of where the discussion is going. For instance, just typing in ‘co-evolution’ gives me 469 results – some papers that are centrally involved with the body of research around this notion, but also many that USE the notion in various ways. These applications & interpretations give a unique insight into where we are going as a community. This is exactly the kind of ‘meta-food for thought’ that I need as a springboard/ inspiration for taking the discussion forward in a next publication.
For this reason, I wouldn’t quite know which 5 particular papers I would select: I am more focused on the ‘space in between’ the papers, the differences in interpretation and use that point towards the discussions we should have. After all, that is how a field moves forward…
Part of my role at DRS lies in supporting and developing the infrastructure for the field. As the professional field of design has become bigger and more complex, there is also a need to branch out to other academic areas. Design research has always borrowed a lot from the ‘classics’ of other fields (e.g. cognitive science, management, etc), but it is important to really engage with these fields as they are now. For example, we are setting up a joint special issue of journals in design research and business venturing… to be announced soon, watch this space.
I am also looking to diversify the forms we use in our collaborations and discussions – very much looking forward to June 2024, when we first have the Design Thinking Research Symposium 14, in a focused workshop format being hosted by Malardalens Universitet in Sweden (11-13 June), and then later that month the large DRS conference in Boston.
A key function of DRS lies in welcoming new people into our community and intellectual space. Currently, getting into design research can be a bewildering and confusing experience. This is not good for the field, as it slows down progress. We do need to make sure new (and/or young) researchers get up to speed as quickly as possible. Not just for their sake, but for the whole field.
IKEA sell these ‘starter kits’ for students that are just leaving home (with basic plates & cutlery and cooking utensils)… Perhaps we need ‘starter kits’ for design research, too. What would be in there?
DRSelects: Juan Montalvan Lume on Decolonial, systemic, and critical studies in design and design researchDRS IAC member Juan Montalvan Lume on decoloniality and design research. 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 has launched a series called ‘DRSelects’. As part of this series, a 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 Juan Montalvan Lume.
Decolonial, systemic, and critical studies in design and design research in times of socio-natural and pluriversal thought
I wanted to approach this edition of the DRSelects by relating it with my current questionings and thinking towards the future, in a way/attempt of sharing with the community how the Digital Library functions for me as a means of engaging with the contemporary discussions in our field, from which to enrich my own work.
I think most of us are pretty aware that the years to come are going to be generously challenging ones, a big part of it due to intertwining geopolitical and socio-natural tensions, in what some call the era of the ‘Anthropocene’, or, as Donna Haraway frames it, the ‘Chthulucene’ (2016). Amidst this scenario, it feels fitting, even fair, to ask oneself: ‘Are we going to make it?’, ‘Is change actually possible?’.
I believe one –of multiple– ways forward in design research in relation to the above implies a transformative process expanding our understanding of what our community within the DRS is, involving a critical revisitation of what ‘global’ and ‘the globe’ means and implies in contemporary times –a collaborative endeavour required to open up to a diversity of practices, knowledges and visions of what design(s) is/are in different territories, enriching us all and the quality of our work in the process. We are not there yet, but I am positive this is possible considering that the inherent complexity embedded in the challenges of the future we are already facing today requires us to embrace –or at least come to terms with– complexity in our own thought and practice.
It is due to these questions that I embarked on a dialogue of sorts with the DL, looking for spaces-in-between diverse critical work, in an act of relating or weaving reflections over design theory, decolonialization, systemic design, nature-societies and ancestral thought. My first piece is a recent article by Philip Cash (2020), available on the DL through the link to the journal Design Studies. It brings up the question of the state of theory development in design research through a review of articles in the same journal, from 2004 to 2018, evidencing a consistently low level of engagement in theory building and testing, among other 5 revealing insights. Now, it is helpful to think about these findings in the landscape of not just Design Studies, but the scope of the Digital Library –and a revisited global context– from which the reflection over theory in design, could become the reflection over theories of designs. An article by Kambunga, Smith, Winschiers-Theophilus & Otto (2023) helps on this matter by opening up the landscape, addressing pluriversal and decolonial theories in design, and the valuable task of exploring the means through which to bring them into practice. Hence the concept of ‘safe spaces’ is proposed as a way to enact dialogical engagements and collective creations of knowledge, in Namibia.
Continuing with this critical reflection, one could argue that expansion and complexity do not necessarily imply positive outcomes if the question of how to approach them is not asked. This next article by Edeholt & Joseph (2022) reflects upon the fate of the design disciplines in a context of constant expansion of design as a response to pressing systemic challenges in the age of climate change. Through a dynamic and critical engagement with perspectives expressed in the book ‘Design in Crisis: New Worlds, Philosophies and Practices’ by Tony Fry and Adam Nocek (2021), the article reflects upon the coexistence of an ‘ecology of disciplines’, ultimately urging all disciplines –whether in design or not– to rethink 'how' they contribute to 'what' in order to collectively succeed as a species amidst this global challenge. In relation to which, research done by Serpa et al. (2022), and their critical pedagogy drawing from the Latin American tradition of critical thinking in Education, Arts, and Sociology, offers concrete examples of how the emerging discipline of systems design can take the form of network and community creation, reframing the ‘how’ of co-design, and enabling a possible new ‘what’ in the form of a transdisciplinary community in which designers become members/enablers/weavers, fostering agency and freedom, and at the same time contributing to the theories of designs towards new possible ontologies or ‘beings’.
Finally, my last pick is dedicated to acknowledging the fact that the DL not only showcases articles in English, but also it is possible to search for articles in Spanish and Portuguese thanks to the remarkable work of members of the Pluriversal Design SIG who organize the PIVOT Conference, which promote inter-cultural and pluralistic conversations over design. Within the last edition of the conference, this article by Lucía Garcés (2021), which title could be translated as ‘Ancestral Laboratory: Participatory design and Kichwa knowledge in Ecuador’s Amazon’ does a remarkable work in intertwining pluricultural knowledge production in design, guided by Andean philosophy and the work of Ecuadorian anthropologist Patricio Guerrero Arias, enriching its theory and practice.
If anyone curious about similar work but challenged by language, the journal Diseña offers a bridge over this matter by publishing in both Spanish and English, opening the discussion and contributing to the accessibility of knowledge being produced in Latin America to researchers in other geographies, while at the same time remaining accessible locally to many people in the region.
Hopefully in the near future, articles in this journal could be accessed through the Digital Library as well. Certainly, the DL is one of those much-needed spaces where design researchers and practitioners can engage with the current discussion on not just these, but several of the most relevant matters in contemporary debate, traversing and engaging multiple geographies and traditions performing research in designs –understood in a broader pluricultural sense. Hence its potential to be a space where nuances in approaches, voices and narratives can be sensed and reflected upon.
Juan Montalvan Lume is professor of Critical Latin American Design Studies and Design Theory and Methodology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and the former director of the Industrial Design Program at this university. His work cuts across transdisciplinary research and practice linking socio-natural systems and systemic design, science and technology studies, philosophy of knowledge, decolonization, design studies, space design and bioastronautics. Within the DRS International Advisory Council Juan is currently working at the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group on a project called ‘Global Forums’ consisting on a series of events to be held in multiple geographies and languages aimed towards engaging with the DRS community to tackle a profound question linked to the very constitution of the DRS’ evolving identity: “What it means –and what it implies– to actually become a ‘global’ design research community?” Juan trusts this initiative could potentially expand and enrich our practices, knowledge and narratives over what design –and design research– is, collectively nurturing us all and the quality of our work in the process.
Haraway, D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press.
Cash, P. (2020) Where next for design research? Understanding research impact and theory building. Design Studies, 68(2020), 113-141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2020.03.001
Kambunga, A., Smith, R., Winschiers-Theophilus, H., & Otto, t. (2023) Decolonial design practices: Creating safe spaces for plural voices on contested pasts, presents, and futures. Design Studies, 86(2023), 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2023.101170
Edeholt, H., and Joseph, J. (2022) Design disciplines in the age of climate change: Systemic views on current and potential roles, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.365
Fry, T., and Nocek, A. (2021) Design in Crisis: New Worlds, Philosophies and Practices. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.
Serpa, B.O., van Amstel, F.M., Mazzarotto, M., Carvalho, R.A., Gonzatto, R.F., Batista e Silva, S., and da Silva Menezes, Y. (2022) Weaving design as a practice of freedom: Critical pedagogy in an insurgent network, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.707
Garcés, L.(2021) Laboratorio Ancestral: Diseño participativo y sabidurías Kichwas en la Amazonia de Ecuador, in Leitão, R.M., Men, I., Noel, L-A., Lima, J., Meninato, T. (eds.), Pivot 2021: Dismantling/Reassembling, 22-23 July, Toronto, Canada. https://doi.org/10.21606/pluriversal.2021.0045
Alejandra Poblete Pérez reflects on early DRS conference proceedings in the Digital Library. 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, a 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 Alejandra Poblete Pérez.
Introducing myself and my “arriving” to the DRS
I am a graphic designer, with almost forty years of professional practice and undergraduate design teaching, as well as a researcher for twenty years, starting within the PhD Programme at the University of Barcelona.
This research path drove me to the DRS in the first decade of this century, when I realised that the DRS is the oldest multidisciplinary academic society of design research (since 1966), promoting design theories, methods and practices and, understanding research and its relationship to education and practice.
In these six decades, the DRS has embraced the theoretical concerns of the discipline, providing a space for the dissemination of research work, methodological proposals and reflections, case studies, etc. That’s why the research results from DRS Conference proceedings are the subject of my own studies, as the conferences bring together the theoretical effort of design.
My connections with the DRS Digital Library
In a way, what I am about to relate could be considered a prequel to the DRS Digital Library.
In 2015 I applied for a DRS research grant offered as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the DRS. Three researchers received the grant that year, with the commitment to present our research results at the special anniversary session in DRS2016 Brighton Conference:
Søren Rosenbak, from Umeå Institute of Design, Sweden, presented his work “Fifty Years of Failures”, reflecting on design as a process of learning from failure.
Darren Umney, from The Open University, UK, presented his study of the networks of design research in a reconstructed review of themes and actors in the DRS papers.
My presentation was "DRS Conferences: a barometer and a mirror of theoretical reflection of design discipline - a review and a discussion", examining the theoretical development of design research, through the papers published over 50 years.
That was completely in line with Darren’s work, giving us the opportunity to dialogue and collaborate with each other, so I shared with him all the material I had been digitising from the early pre-DRS conferences (1962, 1965, 1967), the printed proceedings of the DRS (1971, 1976, 1980) and partial (or pre-print) material collected from various sources (1973, 1978 and 1984).
That was the beginning of the Digital Library, driven by Darren Umney, backed at that time by Peter Lloyd, and continued by DRS in a systematic way, committed to open knowledge.
My selected readings
I recommend the reading, and “re-reading”, of those early DRS proceedings, where key methodological concepts emerged, reflecting the concerns of society at that time, anticipating problems or phenomena that we still experience today, as a society and as designers.
Examples of that are concepts such as "participatory design" (DRS 1971), dealing with user participation in decision-making, also addressing disability, and therefore, inclusion.
The 1973 DRS conference, “Design Activity”, gathered research papers from fifteen countries, addressing topics within design activity, such as the nature of design decision-making, the process and the objectives of design, "the who, the why, the how", in Tom Maver's words.
The DRS 1976 conference, "Changing Design”, addressed the changing role of design in society, taking into account the changes that society was experiencing at the time. Thus, this notion of change opened up new thinking on issues such as design education, technology assessment, and the human context of designing.
DRS1980 "Design: Science: Method" proposed a deeper epistemological reflection, perhaps as a kind of reaction, or rejection, of previous methodological approaches, where this new emphasis lies on design research and “designerly inquiry”, in Archer’s words.
It is also essential to mention the 1978 Conference –led by Professor Nigan Bayazit (RIP) and Mine Inceoglu– which for the first time was held outside of Europe (in Istanbul), opening a space for another kind of reflection.
Although in the Digital Library, only the index of topics and titles of research articles of DRS 1978 is available, it is inspiring to see the topics addressed, such as “Human consequences of design”, “Psychological determinants in the design process”, or the very recent concept at that time, “Design Thinking and methods”.
Finally, my synthetic view is that the open access that the Digital Library is offering to researchers, teachers, and students –belonging or not to design discipline– constitutes an opportunity to have enough perspective –and context– in understanding the development of design research.
Bayazit, N., and Inceoglu, M. (eds.) (1978) Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, 1978: Architectural Design, Istanbul, Design Research Society. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/5
Cross, N. (eds.) (1972) Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, 1971: Design Participation, London, Design Research Society. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/1
Design Research Society. (eds.) (1973) The Design Activity International Conference, 1973, London, Design Research Society. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/2
Evans, B., Powell, J., and Talbot, R. (eds.) (1982) Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, 1976: Changing Design, Chichester, John Wiley. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/3
Jacques, R., and Powell, J. (eds.) (1981) Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, 1980: Design: Science: Method, Guildford, IPC Business Press Limited. https://dl.designresearchsociety.org/conference-volumes/4
DRSelects: Catalina Cortés on Design for Behaviour Change, for Wellbeing and Critical Design LiteracyDRSelects: Catalina Cortés on Design for Behaviour Change, for Wellbeing and Critical Literacy. 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, a 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 Catalina Cortés.
Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.
I am Catalina Cortés, and I work as a researcher at the Design School of Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile. Catalina is a professor at the Design School of Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile and has taught design for 20 years. She has been awarded national and international funds focused on: strengthening the knowledge about design literacies for the general public, studying emergent spatial design thinking processes by ECE teachers, Design Thinking as an approach to solving problems of practice by Chilean school educators, and thedevelopment of tangible interfaces to learn abstract mathematical concepts.
In the DRS, I currently participate in two SIGs, the Education Sig and the Global Health Sig. I am co-editing a book on Design for health in Latin America with the Global Health group that will be released soon. As a part of the IAC, I am participating in the group of the organisation of the DRS2024 Conference in Boston and the Diversity and Inclusion Group.
What are the benefits of being involved with the DRS and how can those interested become more involved in the Society?
Being involved in the DRS has been a motivating experience! I have met many exciting colleagues worldwide and research approaches and interests. I recommend that people interested in participating in the DRS join the SIGs of their interest and become involved in emerging activities. That is a concrete way to explore new areas of inquiry and meet future collaborators.
Tell us about the papers you've chosen for your DRSelects.
I approached my DRSelects as a way to understand my current research interests and how they relate to each other. I selected two editorials of tracks in the DRS2022; Design for Behaviour Change: Taking the Long View Fast by Niedderer et al. (2022) and Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health by Petermans et al. (2022). My third selection is the editorial of the track Empowering critical design literacy by Lutnæs et al. (2021) from Learnx Design 2021 conference.
Design for Behavior Change is not new to design research but has connected in exciting ways to intentional design towards the wellbeing and health of people and the planet. Suppose behaviour change studies are focused on health and happiness. In that case, its methods can be used to improve the quality of life of people, which moves towards the common good and away from its criticised use to persuade consumer decisions. These three pieces present a fascinating view of these topics and diverse examples of the research revolving around them.
At this point, I find it relevant to pay attention to the Critical Design Literacy editorial as it promotes the shift towards educating future generations about sustainable design and responsible consumption. Design Literacy is concerned with the creation and understanding of design, which today is fundamental to facing the future responsibly and educating makers and consumers to be critical thinkers.
The last two pieces I chose exemplify applying these intertwined topics in design research. Özkan & Wever(2019) present a case study about introducing repair as part of the product design process in design education. Huerta et al. (2022) explore using ecodesign to train professionals in the packaging industry in Chile to think critically about their production decisions.
In sum, the three editorials offer a variety of papers that revolve around these related relevant topics, which I recommend as an inspiration to guide future research towards responsible design ethically, environmentally and with a focus on people and the planet.
Design for Behaviour Change: Taking the Long View Fast
Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Desai, S., and Hermsen, S. (2022) Design for Behaviour Change: Taking the Long View Fast, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.1075
Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health
Petermans, A., Poldma, T., Cain, R., Ozkaramanli-Leerkes, D., Tonetto, L., Pohlmeyer, A., Hassenzahl, M., Laschke, M., and Desmet, P. (2022) Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.1062
Track 02: Empowering critical design literacy
Lutnæs, E.(2021) Track 02: Empowering critical design literacy, in Bohemia, E., Nielsen, L.M., Pan, L., Börekçi, N.A.G.Z., Zhang, Y. (eds.), Learn X Design 2021: Engaging with challenges in design education, 24-26 September, Shandong University of Art & Design, Jinan, China. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs_lxd2021.00.313
Integrating repair into product design education: Insights on repair, design and sustainability
Özkan, N.G., and Wever, R.(2019) Integrating repair into product design education: Insights on repair, design and sustainability, in Börekçi, N., Koçyıldırım, D., Korkut, F. and Jones, D. (eds.), Insider Knowledge, DRS Learn X Design Conference 2019, 9-12 July, Ankara, Turkey. https://doi.org/10.21606/learnxdesign.2019.16117
Integrating ecodesign in food packaging solutions for EPR compliance in Chile: Knowledge transfer from theory to practice
Huerta, O., Cortés, C., and Melo, C. (2022) Integrating ecodesign in food packaging solutions for EPR compliance in Chile: Knowledge transfer from theory to practice, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.241