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Design Research Programme TRANSITIONS
24-28 October 2022
Microlab Eindhoven

For 5 consecutive days, Design United will fuel the debate around design research in the Microlab Eindhoven. Workshops, hackathons, discussions, and other appropriate formats will be used to deep dive into the 5 themes: More than Human Design, Futuring, Politics of Design, Entanglements with AI, and Neo Craftsmanships.

Monday 24 October
More than Human Design

We entered an eco-age, which spans and traverses the social, natural, and artificial. How can we create value for future habitats that are natural for the ‘life’ and growth of humans and nonhumans? Can design be at the heart of such ecosystems? How to manipulate leverage points that affect all within the system?

Which collaborations and ways of thinking are needed to shift towards decentralizing the human? In this theme, we move from human-centered design to more than human design. 

Journey for the More than Human Design Atlas
Location: Microlab

Introduction of the afternoon programme will be announced soon!

Tuesday 25 October
Futuring

Design is a future-oriented practice. Ways to envision the future, to speculate and reflect on it, and even to rehearse what it may feel like to inhabit alternative futures, are all critical components of the designer's toolkit. As the fate of our planet lies in the balance, the ways design shapes our futures – the kind of relations, experiences, meanings, and behaviors it forms – need to be explored, problematized, and reoriented. 

We need to figure out, collectively, where opportunities for responsible innovation lie, and help society move forward in respectful, responsible, and exciting new ways.

Programme
Location: Microlab

Programme will be announced later

Wednesday 26 October
Politics of Design

What is the relationship between design, power, and social justice? How do designers navigate the complex intersections of social structures, cultural differences, biases, stereotypes, and domination? 

Is design equipped for collective liberation and ecological sustainability? Can design really aim at social good and if so, how does it change the way we practice design? This theme welcomes epistemological and methodological discussions as well as focuses on projects on social justice, power, agency, and politics of design.

Workshop
Location: Microlab Eindhoven

Programme will follow soon.

Thursday 27 October
Entanglements with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be fundamentally shaping our future societies. It is therefore of great importance to understand AI as a design material. Not only as computation but also as a technology that can transform everyday activities and experiences and transform design practice itself.

 Questions we would like to ask are, how designers can productively engage and work with AI? How can this be done collaboratively with relevant stakeholders who engender multiple perspectives and levels of understanding? And lastly, how to do so in responsible and ethical ways.

WORKSHOP Entanglements with AI - AI as our material, reflective tool and partner

Microlab Eindhoven 27 oktober 15:00-18:00

Introduction 

AI is positioning itself not only as a useful tool to tackle societal challenges, but also to create, reflect and shape future products and systems. As such, AI becomes a material and a partner in the design process for which we need new tools and approaches to embed AI in solutions with a human-centered and post-human-centred perspective. At the same time, AI could serve as a reflective tool to co-develop with stakeholders with lived experience of AI and with AI ethical methods to design just and power-aware technology. 

In this afternoon program, we will immerse ourselves in the entanglements we currently experience between AI and Design. We will do so with practical hands-on activities featuring the most exciting projects of the 4TU DesignUnited. The goal of the afternoon is to understand what tools, methods, and techniques we could use to design for, with, through AI, and for society, and connect with the design community working in the field.

The program is open to design researchers, students, and practitioners. 

Programme

  • 15:00    welcome and introduction
  • 15:30    AI as a design material (to tackle societal challenges): Design through AI: guest lecture and mini workshop
  • 16:30    break
  • 16:45    AI as a reflective tool (to design for justice): guest lecture and mini workshop
  • 17:30    Round table Wrap up
  • 18:00    end and drinks

Participation is free after registration:

Friday 28 October
Neo Craftsmanships

While critical debates on the future directions of design are in full swing, crafters of advanced enabling technologies have already started to make the new every day a reality; the crafts of tomorrow are taking shape today.  

Deepfake digitalisations are out in the wild, shape-changing food designs are served in top restaurants, and smart materials to weave sustainable fabrics. 

Many more emergent key technologies are ready to become the design materials of the future. In this theme, we focus on the question of how new craftsmanships emerge in current design practice.

Colofon

More than Human Design

  • Bahar Brati
  • Dave Murray

Futuring

  • Julieta Matos
  • Roy Bendor
  • Dan Lockton
  • Iona Mereuta

Politics of Design

  • Stephan Wensveen
  • Annemiek van Boeijen
  • Clemens Driessen
  • Deǧer Özkaramanli

Entanglements with AI

  • Cristina Zaga
  • Phil Allen
  • Mathias Funk
  • Sara Colombo

Neo Craftsmanships

  • Jacky Bourgeois
  • Kristina Anderson
  • Wouter Eggink
  • Miguel Bruns

Design United organising committe

  • Berry Eggen
  • Marco Rozendaal
  • Daniel Saakes
  • Marijke Idema
  • Diederik Notten

The Dutch design research community is dealing with the ever-changing relationships between technology, society and our planet. Given these changes, design research is in a continuous state of transition. These transitions impact the things we create and investigate, the questions we ask, and the instruments we use. Technological developments in Artificial Intelligence and Bio-engineering triggers us to make and study things where the natural ends and the artificial starts. It also evokes questions, such as: What makes us human? How to live our lives in times of planetary and economic crisis? Five themes address different transitions in design research. From the natural to the artificial, the past to the future, and from traditional to novel methods of creation.

Read more about our themes:

1 More than Human Design

We entered an eco-age, which spans and traverses the social, natural, and artificial. How can we create value for future habitats that are natural for the ‘life’ and growth of humans and nonhumans? Can design be at the heart of such ecosystems? How to manipulate leverage points that affect all within the system? Which collaborations and ways of thinking are needed to shift towards decentralizing the human? In this theme, we move from human-centered design to more than human design. #sustainabledesign #ecology #lifecentereddesign #posthumanaesthetics #ethics 

2 Futuring  

Design is a future-oriented practice. Ways to envision the future, to speculate and reflect on it, and even to rehearse what it may feel like to inhabit alternative futures, are all critical components of the designer's toolkit. As the fate of our planet lies in the balance, the ways design shapes our futures – the kind of relations, experiences, meanings, and behaviors it forms – need to be explored, problematized, and reoriented. We need to figure out, collectively, where opportunities for responsible innovation lie, and help society move forward in respectful, responsible, and exciting new ways.

3 Politics of Design

What is the relationship between design, power, and social justice? How do designers navigate the complex intersections of social structures, cultural differences, biases, stereotypes, and domination? Is design equipped for collective liberation and ecological sustainability? Can design really aim at social good and if so, how does it change the way we practice design? This theme welcomes epistemological and methodological discussions as well as focuses on projects on social justice, power, agency, and politics of design. 

4 Entanglements with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be fundamentally shaping our future societies. It is therefore of great importance to understand AI as a design material. Not only as computation but also as a technology that can transform everyday activities and experiences and transform design practice itself. Questions we would like to ask are, how designers can productively engage and work with AI? How can this be done collaboratively with relevant stakeholders who engender multiple perspectives and levels of understanding? And lastly, how to do so in responsible and ethical ways. 

5 Neo Craftsmanships

While critical debates on the future directions of design are in full swing, crafters of advanced enabling technologies have already started to make the new every day a reality; the crafts of tomorrow are taking shape today. Deepfake digitalisations are out in the wild, shape-changing food designs are served in top restaurants, and smart materials to weave sustainable fabrics. Many more emergent key technologies are ready to become the design materials of the future. In this theme, we focus on the question of how new craftsmanships emerge in current design practice.