Social Design Conversation

Activity: Talks and presentationsGuest lectures, external teaching and course activities at other universities


Social design is a participatory action-oriented design approach that aims at designing for and with marginalized and vulnerable groups in society. By using the term "vulnerable" we wish to embrace the fact that we as human beings at any time in our lives may be affected by unexpected situations, shocks or crises, e.g. due to illness, stress, unemployment, poverty, divorce, loneliness, lack of self-esteem, or other existential challenges. In this conversation, we would like to discuss with design students, researchers, and practitioners how to engage with vulnerability in today’s design contexts. Obviously, the framing of vulnerability within the context of a ‘design project’ seems very limiting and too simplistic for grappling with the complexity, politics and ethics of social design. Instead, design as infra-structuring or caring practice have been introduced as more nuanced approaches. But these approaches raise a number of central questions to be discussed such as:

How can socially responsive design practice become a practice of care?
What does it require of a designer to engage with vulnerable groups?
What is the role of design research in terms of making change happen towards social ends rather than market-driven objectives?
What are the pitfalls and benefits of these design practices?
Period11. Nov 2022
Held atParsons School of Design, United States, New York
Degree of RecognitionInternational