Internat 29, Umeå


Umeå, December 3–5


D!esign Futures will be a hands-on exploration of future studies in design research. During the three days, we will conduct an inquiry into what the future of design research education might be like in the year 2030 in light of economical, ecological and technological development trends. The outcome is to deliver a short description of one of the modules in a PhD school in design the year 2030 to the members of D&R.

To make sense, such a curriculum must be positioned within a more general vision of what is needed and expected from design research by 2030. Thus, we need to consider trends that might lead to significant changes in the academic, societal, cultural and environmental conditions that govern design research. Further, we need to envision the impact of such changes on the curricula of design research education, as to present an idea of what competences and skills will be necessary to acquire.

To scaffold this team-based inquiry, we will start with a series of shared lectures. The purpose of these lectures is to introduce various aspects of future studies, but also to introduce and inspire thinking ahead about important trends and tendencies that might have an impact on how we think about design research. A reading list will be distributed around two weeks prior to the event.

The overall purpose of this exercise is to give a hands-on experience of what working with future studies could be like. At the same time, it is intended as a chance to reflect upon your current PhD studies and how they prepare you for the future of design research and practice. Last, but not least, it is a chance to provide essential input to the strategic discussions about the future of D! and D&R: your presentations will be made just prior to the year meeting held on Thursday afternoon.


This team-based inquiry into the futures of design research should result in a presentation of a module (such as a course) in a PhD school in design by the year 2030. Such a module could for instance be a course, a set of events such as this one, etc. The module you propose needs to acknowledge what conditions in design and the world around it responds to, and what the key learning outcomes are. Thus, it needs to position education in relation to what design (research) is about in this future context, what key problems and issues it is intended to address (be it societal, cultural, technological, ecological, political, etc.). Further, since the schedule is tight, this is also an exercise in planning your process as to make sure you have a result in the end; it is not only a question of what ideas could be developed around this topic, but also what proposal you can develop within the time frame.

There are a few requirements on the presentation, or manifestation, of your proposal:

  1. Besides describing the course or module itself, your proposal must include (brief) descriptions of how it relates to design research and practice more in general, as well as how it fits within a bigger picture of what life in 2030 is like. This is not to say you need to address aspects of everything, but simply that your proposal must come with an account of its context.
  2. The presentation needs to be able to stand on its own, i.e. it needs to be able to travel into situations in which you are not yourself present. It needs to make sense on its own. A typical scenario could be: you want to influence a meeting you know you will not be able to attend – a short video conveying your key ideas will have to do that job for you. Another typical scenario could be: you want your ideas to reach audiences beyond what you will be able to travel to and talk to yourself – a digital mini-booklet will have to travel that distance for you.
  3. You may choose whatever form and format you think is most effective to communicate your proposal as long as it fulfils the requirements listed.
  4. On Thursday, you will be asked to give a 15 min presentation of your proposal. Directly after the presentation, you will be asked to hand in a copy of the proposal to the D! senior faculty.

Updated programme in pdf below.

We'll be staying at Hotell Aveny, Rådhusesplanaden 14, and let me, sushel [at] kth [dot] se, know when you're coming and leaving by Monday 11 November the latest. And please stick to a reservation already made!

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Designfakulteten grundades i december 2007 med finansiering från Vetenskapsrådet och KTH. Dess främsta verksamhet är att driva en nationell forskarskola i design i samarbete med ett 20-tal institutioner runt om i Sverige.

Institutionen för maskinkonstruktion
Brinellvägen 83-85
100 44 Stockholm


Föreståndare maria [dot] hellstrom [dot] reimer [at] mah [dot] se (Maria Hellström)
Informationsansvarig sushel [at] kth [dot] se (Susanne Helgeson)

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