Design hinges a natural-artificial continuum through humans’ natural capacity to produce what we call ‘the artificial’. At a time when human activity is threatening biodiversity and causing severe climate change, it becomes obvious that natural and artificial systems can no longer be conceived in isolation but only in relation to each other – or indeed as one. The coupling of natural and artificial systems poses challenges due to its complexity and partly reveals the anthropocentrism that has traditionally characterised design. Several questions arise in this context.
How can design practices embrace pluralism by recognising, in the manifestation of design itself, biological as well as cultural diversity?
In other words, how do we in design, and beyond, move from the kind of ego-system we seem to be so trapped in towards the kind of eco-system everyone and everything can gain from? How are designers, educators and researchers of design currently engaging with these challenges, and how might or should they engage with them in the near future? Designers in Scandinavia have shaped and influenced many local human societies to an important extent through a legacy of democratic and user-centred values. How can these be extended to acknowledge and celebrate humans’ cohabitation on a global scale to also include the myriad of all other existing species and systems at alternative scales in time asnd space? How can the various design practices be genuinely sensitive to ecological complexity?
And how can they be understood, designed and studied in relation to each other – or indeed as a whole?
Addressing these issues and many others, the Design Ecologies conference includes the following tracks:
Design and Approaches for Sustainability
Design for Sustainability as we know it and as we might imagine it. This track is for both case studies we can learn from and more speculative alternative approaches. We especially invite submissions that scrutinize the tensions, and possible bridging, between: (i) radical and more incremental solutions, (ii) local and more global approaches and (iii) a non-anthropocentric versus a more anthropocentric design approach.
Design as a Political Agent
Critical or Discursive Design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially encourage submissions that scrutinize the tensions, and possible bridging, between approaches that nurture a more critical versus a more constructive discourse.
Design and Sustainable Businesses
Business- and management-driven design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially invite submissions that address the tensions, and possible bridging, between designing for (and running a business in) a growth versus a non- or post-growth economy.
Design and Sustainable Technologies
Technology-driven design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially invite submissions that address the tensions, and possible bridging, between designing for a specified technology versus facilitating the design of plausible technologies for a specified goal.
Design and its Educations
Sustainability in design educations as we know it and as we might imagine it. How can design education support students to become critical and creative in the light of the challenges that un/sustainability poses? We invite submissions that engage in visionary pedagogical approaches at all levels and especially those exploring the tension between ego- versus eco-awareness and the possibilities of bridging perspectives from both the ‘Global North’ and ‘South’.
Design and its Wild Cards
What kind of hidden cards does design carry up its sleeve? This track is for all the papers that do not fit easily into the other themes. So don’t worry; we have a place for you that is more comfortable than rejection even if it might be not a perfect fit. While having very open criteria, we especially invite submissions that tackle failures, tensions and complexities with a critical and provocative but also a constructive view. To conclude, this additional track is for papers that are uncomfortable but worthy.
In order to develop the theme of Design Ecologies we invite a variety of disciplines to make contributions: full papers, exploratory papers, workshops, exhibitions and a doctoral consortium. Whilst being primarily underpinned by a core of established design and design research, NORDES also welcomes all new design voices – including perspectives ranging from the humanities to physics, from ethnography to art, from engineering to marketing.
Papers may cover experimental and exploratory research approaches to design and the production of knowledge. Papers may also be based on historical, biological, geographical or philosophical studies that make qualified contributions to the field in terms of insights, concepts and ideas. Submissions are subject to an anonymous peer review process. Accepted contributions will be published electronically on the conference website prior to the conference and in the conference proceedings.
All submissions should be in English. All submissions are subject to a double-blind peer review by at least two reviewers. Accepted contributions should be revised according to the review reports and the language should be checked by a native English speaker.