Design is a Contradictory and Contrary Beast

Paul Rodgers UK, Craig Bremner AU & DK, Andy Tennant UK, Giovanni Innella J, Agata Jaworska NL, Shiro Inoue UK, Dan Carey UK, Robert Djaelani UK, Mark Green UK

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This paper is being written in an unorthodox manner by nine design researchers, educators and practitioners spanning four countries and three continents. The approach is that each author writes 100 or so words and then passes it on to the next author to respond and so on. The paper will be finished when all of the nine authors think there is something worth presenting to an international audience. At its heart, the paper wishes to examine and critique the nature and role of design at a time when the world is experiencing a range of significant crises. We propose that design should be at the forefront of shaping new visions for the world, but it must first acknowledge that it has played a central role in creating a world that nobody wants. Moreover, design research, education and practice must reconcile its contrary and downright paradoxical nature in its treatment of how it wishes to sustain the unsustainable, discipline the undisciplined, square the quality versus quantity issue, and many other contradictions.