Design Research for Change 2019 is a showcase of over 60 design-led projects that transcend disciplinary, methodological, geographical, and conceptual boundaries.
The projects illustrate wide- ranging social, cultural, and economic impact and highlight the signi cant roles that UK- based Design researchers play in some of the most complex and challenging issues we face both in the UK and globally and the positive outcomes that are being designed and developed.
The work showcased was developed by researchers and practitioners from a range of design disciplines including product, graphic, fashion, architecture, and textiles working with others in specialist areas such as healthcare, business, computing, engineering, and elsewhere. Many of the design research projects featured are based in one of the four Arts and Humanities Research Council’s design-focused Centres for Doctoral Training, which are aimed at fostering the best design talent in organisations throughout the UK.
We face numerous issues and challenges both globally and in the UK. These challenges are complex and significant and, for many, the future is uncertain. Today, we face a new industrial age where technologies are rapidly transforming the way we live, work and communicate with one another. Whilst various technologies are making us more efficient and productive at work and changing the way we do business they are, at the same time, contributing to high levels of stress and unease amongst us. We are also living in an age where political, social, economic, and environmental disruption are having massive effects on how we go about our day-to-day lives.
The future for many is uncertain and consequently many questions require answers. What will the future of work look like? What will our cities, towns, and villages of the future be like? How will we better care for the planet in the years ahead? How will we look after an increasingly ageing population? What does the future truly hold for the UK?
Buckminster Fuller, the famous American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor and futurist, told us “The best way to predict the future is to design it.”
So, as we move through the fourth industrial revolution and witness our lives being changed in ways we never could have imagined, new forms of design research are needed to power our economy, our society and our reputation across the world.
To this end, the catalogue presents over 60 design-led research projects that seek to break new ground in the months and years ahead. These projects are led in many cases by an Early Career Researcher (ECR), an individual who is within 8 years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within 6 years of their first academic appointment. They are tackling a number of major significant and complex challenges such as developing design tools and processes that will support people living with dementia to live high quality lives, designing systems that ensure childrens’ educational rights are met, designing interventions for supporting more sustainable and inclusive breastfeeding practices, and designing methods for producing more sustainable food practices.
All of these research projects highlight the amazing design research talent we have in the UK. Moreover, the research showcased here illustrates the innovative and creative ways of working that will ensure our designed futures are in safe hands. I hope you enjoy the excellent design research showcased in Design Research for Change 2019.
Professor Paul A. Rodgers AHRC Design Leadership Fellow Lancaster University