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Special Interest Groups

  • Anna Talley posted an article
    The DRS is pleased to announce Sound Driven Design Sig! see more

    The DRS is pleased to announce the formation of a new Special Interest Group on Sound Driven Design, convened by Dr. Stefano Delle Monache, Delft University of Technology; Dr. Nicolas Misdariis, IRCAM STMS Lab; and Dr. Elif Özcan, Delft University of Technology. 

    Please introduce yourself and your work. Why did you decide to start the SIG and how does the SIG relate to your own research?

    The Sound-Driven Design (SoundDD) SIG is an interdisciplinary group with various research expertise and interests related to the field of sound and design at large. The SoundDD SIG reflects the shared interest of its members towards sound as a physical, perceptual, emotional and socio-technological phenomenon. Diverse backgrounds are represented including sound design and computing, acoustics and psychoacoustics, computer science, product design and engineering, cultural studies, philosophy and music technology. In general, what brings us together is the wish of contributing with actionable knowledge on sound to design better products and soundscapes, and ultimately better environments and life quality.

    In the last 15 years several research initiatives, and one in particular, the EU-funded COST Action IC0601 on Sonic Interaction Design (SID, 2007 - 2011),  set the seeds and contributed to the creation and consolidation of new design theories, tools and practices utilising sound as one of the principal channels to convey information, meaning and aesthetic / emotional qualities in interactive contexts.

    As this field of design research is growing and being established in multidisciplinary communities, we observed that sound-driven design was not yet represented as a SIG. Hence, we saw the opportunity to engage with all the other design research fields represented in DRS. In this respect, we especially want to emphasise the holistic and inclusive character of “sound-driven” as it combines the diverse sonic, experiential, technical and cultural manifestations of sound with the creative, integrative, mitigative, and purposeful essence of designing. With the SoundDD SIG, we offer a platform and a home for research communities that want to incorporate sound and listening in their design activity and research.

    What is your SIG about? What are your aims and goals?

    The DRS2022 Bilbao hosted for the first time a theme track on Sound and Design. The session was successful in attracting a high number of submissions, demonstrating the interest of the design community in sound-driven design research. The SoundDD SIG aims at bringing together researchers, designers and scholars to advance and develop sound-inclusive design methodology and knowledge on designing sound for complex systems and environments.

    The SoundDD SIG frames its activities in three main areas:

    Applied sound-driven design, including sound- and evidence-based case studies and interventions with specific impact, e.g., from product sounds to soundscapes, in healthcare, mobility, sustainability, and the lived environment in general;

    Sound-driven design for experience, - listeners-centric and -inclusive design studies that investigate how sound and action intertwine to shape dynamic relationships between humans and objects, e.g. from the sound-driven experience to the effect of sound on listeners, such as emotions and alarm fatigue;

    Fundamentals of sound-driven design, including inquiries on the fundamentals of design and audition, formgiving and cognition, research methodology, the role of sound-based representations in design communication and creativity, design methods and tools.

    By promoting sound and listening as a social form of sharing and communication, our main goal is to establish and spread a design culture on sound and listening as well as leverage the design culture in the sound domains. To this end, the SoundDD SIG actions will aim at discovering and developing new methods and tools for designing and researching about sound (research), developing a sound-driven literacy in design (education), creating awareness and promoting public engagement around the experience of listening in complexity (society).

    Who are the SIG's convenors?

    The SoundDD SIG is organised in two bodies, the convenor team and the organising group.

    The convenor team is composed of three members, namely Stefano Delle Monache, Nicolas Misdariis and Elif Özcan, who have been tightly collaborating on the theme of sound-driven design in the last years. They are responsible for the direction and planning of the SIG activities and ensure its daily management, and meet the organising group quarterly or more often if needed. The organising group acts as scientific committee and is composed of five members, that is Daniel Hug, Sara Lenzi, Sandra Pauletto, Davide Rocchesso, Simone Spagnol. We look forward to welcoming new members and making the SIG an active place of discussion and activities.


    Stefano Delle Monache works on practices, methods and representations for sound-driven design, especially in collaborative, multi-stakeholder settings. He investigates appropriate sound-driven research methodology instrumental to contribute to the understanding of the embodied and multisensory nature of designing.

    Nicolas Misdariis investigates the design process at the intersection of environmental sound and soundscape perception, auditory display, human-machine interfaces and interactive sonification. The research collaboration with industrial stakeholders provides the ground for a systematic inquiry of the real-world sound design practice ​​through action research projects. 

    Elif Özcan works on sound-driven design and research in the fields of mobility, space operations and healthcare. She explores how to shape the sounds and soundscapes of complex environments with multiple listeners and multiple sound sources. Her connections to industry and expertise in sound-driven research makes her approach both fundamental and applied.

    Organising group:

    Daniel Hug is exploring sound and interaction design through art and design projects, theoretical inquiry and applied research. As expert in interaction and game sound design, Daniel has a focus on innovation and technology in sound and music education.

    Sara Lenzi is a sound designer who enjoys incursions in sound art, and an activist on the importance of sound in communication. She investigates data sonification design and the use of sound to gather insights on datasets and complex phenomena.

    Sandra Pauletto works at the intersection of sound and music computing, media production, sound design, sonic interaction design and sonification. She explores sonic augmentation possibilities often with a focus in sustainability and health, and investigates the transfer of established sound production practices to develop novel sound design tools.

    Davide Rocchesso is interested in sound modelling, interaction design, and multisensory perception and action.  His focus on research-through-design practices in continuous multisensory interaction is aimed at developing sound synthesis models that are perceptually coherent, efficient, and controllable. He has led international research projects on sound modelling, sonic interaction design, and sonic sketching.

    Simone Spagnol works on sound processing and representation, binaural technologies, sonic interaction design, and assistive technologies. He is currently exploring design possibilities in the context of acoustic signal recognition in socio-technological environments.

    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 SoundDD SIG has just been formalised, but we already have many ideas. Beyond organising DRS events, including seminars and talks, and promoting publications, we really would like the SoundDD SIG to become a platform that facilitates connection and mobility between designers and researchers interested in the field of sound and design at large. We see the SoundDD SIG as an incubator of ideas and research initiatives. For this purpose, we will start soon working on a series of hands-on, research workshops.

    The mailing list and the forum will be the principal channels of communication for announcing events, updates and funding opportunities for short term scientific missions and mobility. Further, we intend to curate an online map of institutions, researchers and their specialisation in the field of sound and design, as a resource to facilitate partnerships and initiatives.

    And of course, we would like to be present at the DRS conference with a paper track on sound-driven design to launch the SIG as well as to advance, transfer and disseminate new knowledge. In general, we aim at attracting research communities within and outside DRS and foster open and constructive scholarly debate and discussion. For this purpose, we want to organise sessions at other conferences as well to contribute to the visibility of both SoundDD SIG and DRS.

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

    Having a DRS SIG on sound-driven design represents a significant achievement and acknowledgement of a field which was under-represented in DRS, albeit already existing scattered in different disciplinary areas. DRS is inherently interdisciplinary as sound-driven design is. This creates the best synergy and environment for the SIG to boost the advancement of foundational knowledge and theory on sound-driven design, thus contributing to the development of a soundscape of design research, as well as addressing societal issues towards more equal, inclusive and wise ecosystems.

  • Anna Talley posted an article
    The Design Ethics SIG is the newest DRS Special Interest Group. see more

    The Design Ethics SIG is the newest DRS Special Interest Group. We spoke with DE SIG's convenors to learn more about them and the SIG's origins, aims and upcoming events. 

    Please introduce yourself and your work. Why did you decide to start the SIG and how does the SIG relate to your own research?

    Design Ethics (DE) SIG is an interdisciplinary group with a range of research expertise and interests, from design to philosophy of technology to international law. From the beginning, it was important for us to form an interdisciplinary platform that weaves together the critically reflective core of the humanities with the creative capacities of design. We believe that we can find the most fruitful opportunities to advance knowledge where disciplines merge and interdisciplinary tensions and dilemmas emerge. What we all have in common is that we embrace a critical stance towards our own disciplinary perspectives (critical researchers) and practices (critical practitioners), and feel committed to bridging theory and practice to achieve both societal and scientific change.

    DE SIG started with the simple observation that design ethics was not yet represented as a SIG. We thought that this was a gap and a missed  opportunity to engage all fields of design associated with DRS. Since design has its own responsibilities in being a challenge, but also a solution to some of the most pressing societal and environmental challenges, we believed it was important to create a SIG on design and ethics to create a space of reflection for designers and associated disciplines to support being sensitive to the historical, cultural, economic and political roots of these challenges. We aim for DE SIG to be a platform where such attitudes originate and develop by means of interdisciplinary conversations.


    What is your SIG about? What are your aims and goals?

    Design ethics is a broad, complex, and nuanced field. In a conversation that we hosted at the 2022 DRS conference in Bilbao, many ethical issues, moral dilemmas, and political questions were raised that academics and practitioners encounter in their daily practices – from doing research respectfully (i.e. research ethics), to accounting for the historical legacies of violence, to anticipating the future impact of emerging technologies. The variety and urgency of these challenges do not easily lend themselves to a single theory, checklist or a toolkit that can easily be copied and pasted from one project to the next. We require a systematic yet an organic way of thinking about ethical inquiry that originates from within the discipline. That’s why, as a result of that DRS22 Conversation, we felt most comfortable with framing design ethics as an invitation to care. What we mean by this is a practice informed by the feminist care literature that considers care as central to thinking about justice, but it also on a more methodological level means that ethics is not simply an  afterthought in design research and practice.

    Our main goal is to learn from each other and advance both academic and experiential knowledge. We want to do this through critique and conversation, questioning and dialoguing, and sharing examples and experiences. To do this effectively, we aim for each SIG activity to focus on a specific theme, such as a specific societal challenge, application field or a technology, that is relevant for our three main pillars of interest:

    ●    Scholarly foundations (theories and methods)

    ●    Educational approaches (didactics)

    ●    Design practices (experiences and challenges)


    Who are the SIG's convenors? 

    We are eight people in the group, six conveners, Deger, Michael, Christine, Sanna, Laura, and Delfina, who meet regularly to ensure continuity and Nolen and Naga Nandini in the extended organizing group who advise on new directions for SIG activities and help plan and promote them. We are looking for two more people to join the organizing group which we will recruit as we grow.


    Deger Ozkaramanli explores ethical inquiry in design from a methodological perspective, researching how to create room for critical-ethical reflection in design methodologies. For this, she focuses on moral dilemmas that arise in design processes.

    Michael Nagenborg works on the intersection of cities and technologies. He is especially interested in value-sensitive design and other pro-active approaches to address ethical challenges in design. His current research projects have a strong focus on AI. He is also teaching Design Ethics and related courses.

    Sanna Lehtinen works at the intersection of urban aesthetics, environmental philosophy, and philosophy of technology. She collaborates with a broad range of design professionals in interdisciplinary projects where ethical considerations are present at every step of the process.

    Delfina Fantini van Ditmar is a design researcher and Senior Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, School of Design. Driven by her interest in ecological thinking, reflective practices and inter-relations as a systemic response to the environmental collapse, Delfina's critical practice examines material ethics of care and the necessary paradigm shift in design.

    Christine Schwöbel-Patel is working (also in collaboration with D. Ozkaramanli) on design and international law, in particular to understand the framing and construction of stereotypes around migrants. She is also working on making visible and critiquing the international legal infrastructures of the green transition.

    Laura Ferrarello explores the applicability of ethical principles to design practices through participatory and co-design methods. Laura’s approach to ethics is centred on dialogue, as a method to engage designers in understanding roles and responsibilities in generating ethical issues, but also creative solutions. Laura created and currently directs the Future Learn course “The Ethical Innovator”.

    Advisory team:

    Nolen Gertz works on the existential and political significance of technologies in everyday life. He is Assistant Professor Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente where he teaches various courses on the ethics and politics of design in the Industrial Design Engineering program.

    Naga Nandini is a designer and educator working with curriculum and planning at Srishti, Bangalore. Her interests lie in traditional craft practices and artisan communities and their relevance to contemporary design processes. She also runs the Frugal Design lab to understand in different ways how frugality could play a larger role in design.


    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? 

    We have many ideas for our first event and will soon announce the date! We sense great interest in ethics and sustainability as an urgent topic to discuss and debate. Another one is to address ethical issues and political questions that arise in (design) practices outside of academia. Responding to such issues and questions as part of educational curricula is another pressing topic.

    For now, we invite everyone who is interested to become a member through the online discussion forum, on which we will announce all future events and collaboration opportunities. We are also building a mailing list for a quarterly newsletter to keep members up to date and engaged with events and developments. 

    We are particularly excited about organising a paper track dedicated to design ethics at each DRS conference, which will be the bloodline to build, advance and transfer new knowledge. We aim to complement the paper track with a workshop or a conversation session at each conference to amplify scholarly debate and discussion, but also support the application of principles, theories, norms and values to practice. 

    We want to organise similar sessions at other conferences as well in order to contribute to the visibility of both DE SIG and DRS. Finally, we will organize smaller, independent events, such as seminars or book/conference reviews, to have relatively less formal means of knowledge exchange and engagement. 


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

    DRS is the longest established worldwide society for design research and we are proud to be launching DE SIG as part of DRS. In addition, DRS is decidedly interdisciplinary in its approach, which has given us confidence that we will attract like-minded academics and practitioners to our network. Over the past decade, the DRS community has been at the forefront of discussing and defining the role of design - as a discipline and a profession - in addressing societal issues while maintaining a reflexive attitude. We value ambition, reflexivity and creativity, and look forward to building on these values to deepen design’s ethical and political sensitivities.

     March 17, 2023