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  • Anna Talley posted an article
    This month, we hear from Derek Jones, Convenor of the DRS Education SIG (EdSIG). see more

    This month, we hear from Derek Jones, Convenor of the DRS Education SIG (EdSIG). In his DRSelects, Derek tells us more about EdSIG's activities and highlights papers from the proceedings of Learn X Design 2023 which have recently been published on the DRS Digital Library.


    1. Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.

    I’m Derek Jones and I am the Convenor of the DRS Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG). The Convening Group is a collaborative team who organises EdSIG (you can find us here). We also organise the biennial Learn X Design Conference series, tracks for the main DRS Conference series, and, when we get the time, other EdSIG events. 


    2. Could you please give an introduction to your SIG, any recent events and any upcoming events you’d like to share?

    The Education SIG (EdSIG) is one of the oldest DRS SIGs, reflecting the fact that most design researchers also work in educational institutions. 

    We’ve just published the Proceedings from Learn X Design 2023 (available here) and are planning to restart the Futures of Design Education discussion series as soon as we’ve had a break (you can find past discussions here).

    Apart from that, we are gearing up for DRS 2024 and are organising a few tracks on design education for that. Looking forward to seeing people in Boston!


    3. What are some of the benefits of being involved in the DRS through a SIG? How can those who are interested in becoming part of your SIG learn more?

    It’s been said before in this series, but finding a community that shares your interests and passion for a particular area of design can make a huge difference. You’re less isolated, you develop your ideas and thinking, and being part of a community driven by the same interests makes you better at what you do. In EdSIG, we are also one of the few spaces where design theory is really put into applied practice through us and our students – to teach design effectively, you have to know design in particular ways. 

    For anyone interested in joining the SIG, you can either:


    Please choose five items from the DRS Digital Library that you'd like to highlight.

    I’m going to be cheeky and shamelessly publicise the Learn X Design conference series. Even worse, I’m going to pick some of the latest contributions to give a sense of what is happening in design education research right now, because I think it’s an exciting space to work in. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great papers in our archive – but there are also some really interesting and exciting contemporary works coming out of the design research community right now. 

    Even worse, I’m not going to do this myself. In EdSIG we work very closely as a convening group. One of the best things about DRS and the networks around it is that you get to work with people who really care about specific subject areas - so the following are suggestions from the EdSIG Groupmind (Derek, Liv, Lesley-Ann, Naz, Nicole, and James)! 


    The Work of Untutored Designers & the Future of Design Education

    Authors: Elizabeth Boling, Kennon M. Smith

    It’s been remarked many times that, even though we work in creative disciplines, we still don’t tend to make use of disciplinary assets as objects of knowledge. There is a tendency to prefer words when conveying knowledge and research (a strong logocentrism for all you Derridians out there). This is sometimes essential but it is worth asking whether this is the only, or best, way. This paper by two authors who have contributed many words to design education in the past, is a great example of an indisputable piece of knowledge that does not conform to normative, written forms. Not only that, it calls into question a core, unresolved issue in design education – how is it that expertise emerges in designers and who gets to say what that actually is. Have a look for yourself. Literally!


    Mātauranga Moana: uplifting Māori and Pacific values of conceptualisation over western co-design constructs

    Authors: Sonya Withers, Georgina Stokes

    The English language still dominates the research world. One impressive example of integrating another language into a publication is Mātauranga Moana: uplifting Māori and Pacific values of conceptualisation over western co-design constructs by Withers and Stokes. Language is not only a medium for communication, it is a medium that shapes thoughts and thinking, and with this it shapes our values and beliefs. This paper honours the values and beliefs of Māori and Pacific people with respect to co-designing and research communication by using key terms from the Te reo Māori - Māori language - throughout their paper to criticise Western co-design methodologies and show the importance of Whakawhānaungatanga - a process of establishing meaningful relationships - in design education. 


    Minutes of the Inaugural Disassembly – Patadesign School 1: Ethernity, Day 4 on Absolute 13, 149 P.E. (Sept. 20, 2021 vulg.) 

    Authors: Isabella Brandalise, Henrique Eira, Søren Rosenbak

    We loved that this Letter takes a tremendous creative and academic risk by presenting a paper in the format of the minutes of a meeting. This paper generated a significant amount of discussion among the reviewers and the committee. It is worth mentioning as it explores alternative formats to presenting ideas and embraces a form of creativity that the committee sought to encourage by introducing alternative formats.


    The Decision

    Author: Victor Udoewa

    In "The Decision," Victor Udoewa takes us on a captivating journey into the life of a Nigerian design educator in a pluriversal future, where the very concept of design is interrogated for its inherent colonial baggage and (temporarily) substituted by the Ibibio word Nam. In this world, aural and arts-based methods of communicating research findings take precedence over written reports, indigenous research methodologies replace Western approaches, and Nam education centres primarily on agriculture and house-building activities, fostering intimate connections with indigenous communities. Whether this speculative narrative remains confined to fiction in the short term or quickly transitions into reality is uncertain. Nevertheless, it undeniably provokes deep thought and reflection about the futures of design education and research.

    Blood, Sweat and Tears: A Design Education Research Publication Story

    Author: Naz Börekçi

    It's rare that you get a paper about us as authors and researchers, so it was interesting to read how, in Blood, Sweat and Tears: A Design Education Research Publication Story, Börekçi presents a rare and frank glimpse into the process of contemporary academic writing from the perspective of a design educator and scholar. This is a controversial work, as it was treated as a particular type of knowledge during the peer-review process; hence, it was judged naive and poorly informed. Indeed, the work candidly illustrates the challenging task of publishing research in the field of design education by an individual trained in design but unfamiliar with conducting and publishing research on design education. Design and design education are different, and the research methods in one area do not directly transfer to the other. This may be a common oversight among educators in higher education with research experience in their respective fields, presuming they possess the requisite knowledge to conduct research in education within their domain.

     April 03, 2024
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    DRS Designing Change SIG Announces New Convenors, Mauricio Mejía and Luca Simeone. see more

    The DRS Special Interest Group Designing Change is pleased to announce that Mauricio Mejía and Luca Simeone have accepted to take the role of Co-Convenors.

    In its first decade, the SIG was called Design for Behaviour Change and aimed to generate knowledge to address the challenge of designing for sustainability and health behaviors such as recycling, increasing physical activity, or taking medications. Now, the SIG is expanding to consider not only human behavior but also organizational and social behavior, also in light of bringing radical and meaningful transformation and transitions toward just, healthy, and sustainable futures.

    The Designing Change Special Interest Group (SIG DfC) brings together researchers and practitioners who explore designing for individual behavior change, organizational change and societal change. The group studies theories of change and approaches that support designers to be intentional and strategic about change.

    The SIG thanks previous Convenor Kristina Niedderer for her leadership and contributions to advance behavior change knowledge in the design field. She will continue her contributions as a SIG member. 


    Mauricio Mejía is an Associate Professor of Design at Arizona State University. His current work is about strategic design and theories of change. He often collaborates with practitioners and researchers in other fields, such as health, sustainability, business, and education. Dr. Mejía studies and works with diverse design practices and approaches such as design research, service design, experience design, co-design, and design futures.



    Luca Simeone is an Associate Professor at Aalborg University and has carried out research, teaching and consulting activities in various universities (Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Milan Polytechnic, Malmö University, UAL), mostly exploring the managerial, strategic and organizational aspects of design. His latest edited book (Strategic Thinking, Design and the Theory of Change, Edward Elgar, 2023) is directly connected to the themes of this SIG. 



     October 11, 2023
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    DRS Special Interest Group SIGWELL is pleased to announce Dr Leandro Tonetto as convenor. see more

    The DRS Special Interest Group SIGWELL is pleased to announce that Dr Leandro Tonetto is taking on the role of Convenor.

    Prof Dr Ann Petermans, now Co-Convenor, writes of her time as Convenor,

    As the DRS’s Special Interest Group on Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health, SIGWELL has always had an interest in advancing knowledge, and in the development and application of design research in the broadest sense to improve the personal and societal wellbeing, happiness and health of people.

    SIGWELL was reinvigorated in the course of 2017. Since then, together with our international steering board members, I’m particularly proud of various initiatives we set up together:

    (i)          the conference we organized in 2019 at TUDelft, entitled ‘Wellbeing by design: teaching practices & ethical reflections’
    (ii)        the contributions to DRS Conferences that we developed over the years, from workshops over editorials and the composition of theme tracks focusing on design for wellbeing, happiness and health, filled with numerous and very interesting conference papers
    (iii)       contributions of our SIGWELL team to academic publications, with the publication of the Routledge book entitled ‘Design for Wellbeing: an applied approach’ as an important milestone.

    Together with our new convenor, Leandro Tonetto, I’m dedicated to contribute to SIGWELL’s further growth in the years to come!

    On taking the new role, Dr Tonetto has said,

    'Over the years, we have witnessed a growing interest in research on wellbeing, happiness, and health across various design domains. We have also been working intensively with our communities to develop solid theories and methods to address these complex topics in design research. As the new SIGWELL convenor, along with our co-convenor, Ann Petermans, and our SIGWELL colleagues, I am dedicated to creating new avenues for sharing interdisciplinary knowledge and reflecting on the challenges we encounter in this emerging research field. You can expect to see events and publications soon!'

    Find out more about SIGWELL and how to join here:

     September 22, 2023
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    Read the report from EKSIG's 2023 conference. see more

    After a long pause from the seventh EKSIG conference in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EKSIG 2023, the eighth international conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge (EKSIG) took place in the early summer of 2023 on 19–20 June 2023 at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano in Italy. With the theme “From Abstractness to Concreteness – experiential knowledge and the role of prototypes in design research”, the conference brought together design professionals and academic researchers to examine prototypes as a means for knowledge generation and evaluation. EKSIG 2023 was the largest EKSIG conference ever held since the commencement of the conference series in 2007.

    The aim of the conference was to investigate the role of prototypes and their relationship with the multifaceted landscape of today’s design research. As prototypes and prototyping represent ideas and give intelligible form to abstract concepts regarding design solutions, they support the interconnections and collaborations among researchers and practitioners in several design fields. Their role encompasses possibilities that link to the context and aim of design research whose scope of inquiry has recently expanded to tackle various technological, social, and environmental issues (e.g. the impact of technology on society, climate change, social innovation, etc.). With more challenging issues and the current landscape of design research, prototypes have become more complex and embodied the translation of different design languages into a developing concept. EKSIG 2023 was therefore meant to be a platform for design researchers to share and discuss ways in which they have utilised and/or might utilise prototypes and prototyping in their research to generate and evaluate new and existing knowledge. 

    The conference received a great response with an unusually high number of full paper submissions from researchers all over the world. The papers were largely interdisciplinary and came from researchers situated in various design fields, including, but not limited to, architecture, automotive design, craft, design engineering, design for health and wellbeing, design education, material design, interaction design, service design, social design, and textile design. The 55 accepted papers were organized into 12 tracks for presentation across the two conference days:

    Track 1 Interaction, Data and AI / 1

    Track 2 Service design and Policymaking

    Track 3 Research processes and methods / 1

    Track 4 Sustainable and Biological solutions

    Track 5 Materials and Crafts

    Track 6 Society and Health

    Track 7 Materials and Digital

    Track 8 Education processes and methods

    Track 9 Research processes and methods / 2

    Track 10 Mobility and Transportation

    Track 11 Interaction, Data and AI / 2

    Track 12 Fiction & Speculative design


    Figure 1. The conference opening.


    In addition to paper presentations, the conference featured three keynote speakers – Pieter Jan Stappers, Kathryn Marinaro and Aldo Sollazzo – and a display of prototypes that were created and utilized in design research and included in the papers presented at the conference. The first keynote speaker was Pieter Jan Stappers, Professor of Design Techniques at Delft University, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. His keynote “Prototypes: Footholds to the Future and Footsteps from the future?” highlighted the importance of prototypes and prototyping. He stressed how differently the term prototype as noun and prototype as verb made us think and talk and encouraged the use of the verb together with examples. According to Stappers, prototyping is a logical sequence – “a vehicle for creative confrontations between theory and reality, overlapping perspectives, goal and emerging directions, and people”. “Prototyping in Practice for Research and Beyond” was the title of the keynote presentation by Kathryn Marinaro, Creative Director of Argodesign and the author of the book Prototyping for Designers (published by O’Reilly, 2017). Marinaro illustrated the use of prototypes beyond usability testing. She shared her experience creating and utilizing prototypes in a real-world context, through her work at the digital product design agency, Argodesign. She suggested a spectrum of ways in which prototypes could serve in design practice and research, including prototype as toolprototype as deliverableprototype as mindset, and prototype as idea generation. Aldo Sollazzo, Founder and CEO of Noumena, delivered the last keynote of the conference entitled “Advanced Materials Promoting Sustainable Practices”. Through his examples of design projects worldwide, Sollazzo addressed a critical role of innovative materials in tackling climate change and in revolutionizing various industries. He demonstrated how advanced materials had offered a new concept of ecology that enabled sustainable solutions applicable to multiple sectors including construction, fashion, packaging, etc. 


    Figure 2. Three keynote speakers: Pieter Jan Stappers (top left); Kathryn Marinaro (right); Aldo Sollazzo (bottom left).

    Figure 3. Prototypes on display at the conference.


    The discussions among the conference delegates appeared fruitful and stimulating. Although EKSIG 2023 was the largest EKSIG conference since the inauguration of the conference series, the scale of the conference was still relatively small (70 participants). Being small in size, the conference participants were able to get to know one another and discuss their research rather informally. The key takeaway from these two days was probably about the profound potential effects and capabilities of prototyping and prototypes in the generation and transfer of experiential knowledge that could contribute to tackling various emerging global issues addressed through the conduct of design research.

    The post-conference publication will be published as a special issue of Journal of Design Research (JDR) in 2024. 


    Figure 4. A group photograph of conference delegates after lunch on Day 2.



    Nithikul Nimkulrat, EKSIG 2023 Conference Organiser and EKSIG Convenor; Associate Professor, Faculty of Design, OCAD University, Canada

    Photographs by Matteo Bergamini, LAB | Immagine, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano

     August 21, 2023
  • Anna Talley posted an article
    Find out more about the DRS' newest SIG on Interdisciplinary Textiles Research! see more

    The DRS is pleased to announce the launch of the Interdisciplinary Textiles Research Special Interest Group, convened by Tincuta Heinzel, Loughborough University, and co-convened by Delia Dumitrescu (Boras School of Textiles, Sweden); Sara Robertson (Royal College of Art, London, UK); Oscar Tomico (Eindhoven University of Technology, NL); Afroditi Psarra (University of Washington in Seattle, USA); Irene Posch (University of Arts, Linz, Austria); Anne Louise Bang (Via University College, Denmark). Aurélie Mossé (École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France); Pirjo Kääriäinen (Aalto University, Finland); Faith Kane (Massey University, New Zealand); Julia Cassim (Visiting Professor, UAL, Kyushu University, Akita University of the Arts); and Elaine Igoe (University of the Arts, London / University of Portsmouth, UK). Read more about the new SIG below!

    What is your SIG about? 

    One of the oldest of technologies, textiles are positioned now at the leading edge of interdisciplinary work in design, arts, engineering, and theoretical research. Integral to our daily life (through fashion, interiors, technical uses ranging from space industry to medicine, building, agriculture or even soft robotic systems), textiles are the most common example of complexity in terms of materials research, design and fabrication processes, applications and uses, and for  speculative, metaphorical and semiotic inquiry. At the same time, textiles can be used as lenses to better understand and exemplify design interrogations and philosophies of making. The SIG encourages a systemic perspective that enables it to reflect on textiles objects, environments and contexts, to investigate textiles design processes and practices and the dynamics between them. 

    The communities involved in textiles research and production are extensive and diverse in terms of the cultures and skill sets involved. The aim of the SIG is precisely to fill this gap and facilitate international exchanges related to textile design research, to ensure that processes-oriented approaches are addressed  alongside their relevance to existing and hoped-for social and economic futures, where analysis and speculation can come together.

    What are your aims and goals?

    The aim of this SIG is to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary textiles design research -  to become a platform where art, design, and engineering-driven approaches to textiles are welcomed alongside the associated theoretical aspects related to them and the textile industry itself. The new SIG enables a platform from which to raise awareness of the potential roles and value of textile practice within interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design research. By creating this space of discourse, connection and collaboration, our goal is to build capacity and extend the textile practice research. 

    Our areas of interest are related to the conception, fabrication and the use of textiles, their contexts and conditions of manufacturing and consumption, where both STEM and humanities approaches are encouraged. Collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives will aim to address the breadth of textiles: from materials and techniques to processes, from applications to social and industrial configurations, from historical to contemporary aspects related to textiles, from crafts to industrial textile design, as well as sustainable, aesthetic, and emotional aspects of textile design. The perspective we are adopting is that of textiles and textiles design, but also of their systems and ecosystems.

    The main aims of the SIG are:

    • To encourage an interdisciplinary approach to textiles design research;
    • To create a high-quality research environment for textiles design to support PhD students and early career researchers;
    • To facilitate the networking between the members of the SIG and to develop common research projects;
    • To offer a voice in the context of DRS to the researchers working in the field of textile design;
    • To offer visibility to the published research in the field of textiles design;
    • To internationalize the field of textiles design research.



    Who are the SIG's convenors? 

    This SIG is supported by the community involved in the organization of the Textile Intersections conference ( and members of Arcintex Network ( The SIG convenors are researchers in the field of design and textiles with experience in both academia and industry and a long track record of textiles- related research projects. Their expertise covers different areas of textiles design research and they are internationally active. 

    The SIG welcomes researchers and practitioners interested in the areas advanced by the SIG and get involved in the activities of the SIG and to support its development.



    Do you have any upcoming programs, newsletters, or events you'd like to share with our members? Or any ideas for the SIG you would like to pursue? 

    The first meeting of the SIG will take place during the Textile Intersections conference ( to be organized in London between 20th -23rd of September 2023 at Loughborough University - London campus. 

    Apart from the Textile Intersections conference, SIG members will also have the opportunity to meet and get involved in the activities of the upcoming Arcintex meetings ( 

    In October 2023, it will take place Textiles and Place conference at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University ( 

    The SIG aims specifically to support young researchers and to offer visibility to their research in the field of textiles design research through annual doctoral consortiums, research seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and collaborative outputs. At the same time, Textile Intersections conference, which will be organized biannually, will offer a platform to present interdisciplinary research related to textiles design research. 

    Overall, one of the main aims of the SIG is to mediatise the relevant events related to textiles and textiles design research through newsletters.


    How will being based with the Design Research Society benefit your SIG's work and research?

    Being a part of the DRS community will enable the work and academic networks and connections that the SIG holds to expand. Based on their expertise, SIG members are encouraged to propose themes for new activities, lead discussions or facilitate SIG events, to co-author and review SIG publications. We are also planning to be proactive in the events organized by the DRS. Periodic communications with the other SIGs of the DRS and the DRS board will support the collaborations with those SIGs and the development of common events.

    The SIG also aims to establish a special repository in the frame of the DRS Digital Library, where the reviewed outputs of their activities will be published. Proceedings of the Textile Intersections conference, catalogues of the associated exhibitions, and special issues in partnerships with journals focusing on textiles design research (such as Journal of Textiles Design Research and Practice ( are just some examples of publications to be included in the DRS Digital Repository. We aim to create in this sense a specialized library dedicated to interdisciplinary textiles research.

    • Britta Boyer I would be interested to be involved in this - thanks, Britta -
      9 months ago