Does Design Care…? [2] Workshop

Chiba University, Chiba, JAPAN

1 to 3 July 2019

Workshop for 30 Participants (maximum)

Does Design Care…? is a workshop/seminar for academics and practitioners from various disciplines at any level of experience who are involved and/or interested in the gesture and/or practice of “Care” at large.

In the autumn of 2017, the first Does Design Care…? workshop took place at Imagination, Lancaster University, UK. Agroup of 28 researchers and practitioners from 16 nations across 5 continents discussed, acted and reflected upon “Care”. These activities led to the collaborative essay – The Lancaster Care Charter, published recently in Design Issues, which was written in response to the vital question “Does Design Care…?

Via a series of conversations, stimulated by a range of presentations that explored a range of provocations, insights and more questions, the group provided answers for the contemporary context of Care, “The Lancaster Care Charter” presents a collective vision and sets out new pragmatic encounters for the design of Care and the care of Design.

Following on from this hugely successful international Does Design Care…?workshop, we wish to extend the conversations, presentations, insights, more questions and are now ready for the second act of our long and difficult journey towards a better understanding and future visions of what Care is and could be.

The Challenge

The challenges in care systems have become apparently intractable. There have been divide and conquer approaches to responsibility and accountability in care that act to cripple our ability to engage with the speculative and systemic approaches that design offers. Imagination has been cauterized by a risk-averse, Neo-liberal culture – the same culture that also profits enormously from turning care into a transaction.

Therefore, we propose the following 4 conditions for the design of possible futures:

  • We call the first condition “Care of Complexity” – to design-with-care being sensitive and responsive to the boundaries between human and non-human (e. artefacts, animals, nature), local, global, and temporal contexts, and the value in both the commonality and diversity in post-global, post-national, and post-individual contexts.
  • The second condition is “Care of the Project” – to design-with-care acknowledging the complex network of relationships between the material and immaterial, and challenging the dichotomy between human and non-human worlds. To achieve this, design must shift its existing paradigm and lead fundamental shifts in other disciplines.
  • The third condition is “Care of Relations” – to design-with-care asserting that people today must repair, instead of cutting off, the relationship between people, things, environments, and ecology, not only to maintain a good balance, but also to emphasize the interdependence between these entities.
  • The fourth condition about the future of care and care for the future, that we have to live with, is “Care of Carelessness”. We are inevitably careless and we need to be careful about our carelessness. To be care-full, care cannot be designed easily (e.g. into a service). Care must remain distinctive from commerce… and care cannot be an optional extra.

The Location

The capital of Japan, Tokyo, finds itself in the difficult position of having to face one of the most severe demographic emergencies in human history, with a population that is ageing at a very fast pace, and rural areas seeing their younger citizens depart to the cities.

In the past, the elderly were taken care of by families and communities, now they face loneliness and regular struggles with running their lives. In Japan, this situation has led to an unusual trend. Many elderly Japanese women are committing petty crimes in the hopes of being sent to prison, because they have nowhere else to go. But Japan is also the home of omotenashiarguably the best hospitality manners, in the world; ofkaroshiliterally the death from overwork; of kodokushi, the Japanese phenomenon of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time; of amaethe sense of loyalty and shared responsibility that allows – for example – young children to take the train and run errands in complete safety…

Like the manufacture of ‘things’, Japan is moving aged-care offshore where the labour for care is cheap and abundant (like any raw material) by designing and building facilities for the elderly.

In the midst of such extreme contradictions, Tokyo seemed to us like the best place to host the next edition of Does Design Care…?

Tokyo has been chosen as the location for the second Does Design Care…? workshop, which will again see a group of inexperienced and experienced researchers, novice and expert practitioners, thinking, discussing, prototyping and actualising new visions of “Care”.

And we want you to join us!

Your Proposal

We know we all Care – or claim to Care…

We know that we don’t quite know why we Care…

We admit readily to Caring for meaningless things…

But we don’t want to admit that we know what we should be caring for…

Just as we don’t want to admit to what we really Care about…

So if you are interested in joining us, please submit a one-page Does Design Care…? proposal clearly articulates the following:

  • What do you care about?
  • What do you not care about?
  • Why is this important?
  • What can design do here?
  • What difference(s) will design make here?
  • Who or what are you caring for?
  • What are the consequences of this care?

One outcome planned as part of this workshop, will be a publication/catalogue of participants’ contributions that documents the second step in the Does Design Care…? series of workshops.


Professor Paul Rodgers (Imagination, Lancaster University, UK)

Dr Giovanni Innella (AIIT, Tokyo Metropolitan University, JAPAN)

Adjunct Professor Craig Bremner (Charles Sturt University, AUSTRALIA)

Who can Apply?

  • Academic and non-academic researchers of any discipline currently working on Care.
  • Practitioners and representatives of any industry currently working on Care.
  • Anyone concerned with Care.

Important Dates

Does Design Care…? Call-for-proposals launched – 18 January 2019.

Deadline for submission of one-page Does Design Care…?proposal – 18 March 2019.

Notice of acceptance and feedback – 18 April 2019.

Does Design Care…? Workshop dates – 1 to 3 July 2019.


Does Design Care…? is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) under the AHRC’s Design Priority Area Leadership Fellowship scheme (Award Ref: AH/P013619/1).

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