Design as Common Good - SDN Online Conference 2021
In light of social, economic, technological and environmental challenges, design researchers, practitioners as well as communities constantly critically address and question the contribution of design to the common good. The Common Good as conceptualized by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Zalta et al., 2018) “benefits society as a whole – in contrast to the private good of individuals and sections of society.” Design as a discipline has long been positioned from the context of developing and catering to the private good, focusing on individual and smaller sections of society - largely leaving its contributions to the common good under explored.
A range of frameworks currently situate design as a common good among them the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG, sustainabledevelopment.un.org) and the Quadruple Helix (Carayannis & Campbell, 2009). The SDG calls for new approaches of design to address 17 areas identified by the UN as elements of a sustainable world concerned with human well-being. Design, refers to much more than the active verb to design meaning "creation of objects, famous buildings, functional social services, or ecologically minded production. What the notion of design signals […] is diverse forms of life, and often, contrasting notions of sociability and the world” (Escobar, 2018 p.3). The second, the Quadruple Helix, emphasizes the need for co-creation and co-design among governments, industries, academia and civil society in order to achieve socially desirable innovations.
With our conference Design as Common Good, the Swiss Design Network invites everyone interested in reflecting upon what constitutes a common good and specifically what constitutes a common good in and through design. The conference aims to develop new and relevant points of entry for research, education and practise around this topic.
Professional responses to matters of inclusion, sustainability, safety, accessibility, health, well-being, equity, or education are central to these endeavours. They are pushed to the foreground by disruptive events, such as the financial crisis 2008 or the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the fast-paced and omnipresent digital transformation.
We want to collaboratively explore what common good can entail, critically thinking and learning from each other. We welcome papers and projects from researchers and scholars addressing the issue of the common good through, with and within design in the hopes of encouraging others from domains outside the academic design discipline to join our discussion and conference.
We are looking for papers that convey the contributions of design to the common good from a multitude of theoretical perspectives and professional practices. Particularly desirable are research projects targeting new models of knowledge production and innovation that address social, environmental and economic issues to enhance human living. The research focuses on the needs of society – be that at a local, national or global level – and so makes a valuable contribution to policies, the economies, and societies.
We are aiming for high quality contributions that will form the foundations for a book, a special journal issue or another publication and also engaging workshops.