Imagination’s promise: practice-based design research for sustainability, lecture by Prof. Stuart Walker

This talk deals with the role of creative practice in design research and its contribution to knowledge in product design for sustainability. It describes how the creative activity of designing, as a component of the research method, can be a powerful way of developing and illustrating ideas and advancing an ethos of sustainability. The discussion looks at how the inherently unpredictable design process can synthesize disparate, often diverging, priorities into a unified whole. This creative facet of design research is discussed in terms of its relationship to an understanding of design for sustainability that embraces not only social and environmental considerations but also deeper notions of human meaning and purpose. This position is complemented by a series of object examples, which demonstrate the potential of propositional design to advance knowledge. Importantly, within such a practice-based approach, such objects are regarded not as solutions, but as questions in form.

This event is co-hosted by the Design Research Institute, RMIT University and DESIS-Lab Melbourne.

Stuart Walker is Professor of Design for Sustainability and Co-Director of the ImaginationLancaster research centre at Lancaster University, UK. He is also Visiting Professor of Sustainable Design at Kingston University, UK, Adjunct Professor at Ontario College of Art University, Toronto and Emeritus Professor, University of Calgary, Canada. His research papers have been published and presented internationally and his conceptual designs have been exhibited at the Design Museum, London, across Canada and in Italy. His books include: Sustainable by Design; The Spirit of Design; and The Handbook of Design for Sustainability. His latest book is Designing Sustainability: making radical changes in a material world.

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