A constant condition of change is characterizing the contemporary time that involves social, political, economic, technological, environmental, and cultural aspects.

This deep transformation is not limited to specific contexts but is taking geographical dimension, revealing itself in the network of international relations, in the crises between widespread sovereignties and lack of global visions, in the conflict between the urgent demand of society and the weakness of the responses of the ruling classes. All these transformations involves not only the active dimension but also the different knowledge that informs and guides actions and choices.

Design, together with the other disciplines, must face the constant change of these reference scenarios to re-establish its methodological approaches and to redefine its nature.

Identified as a “young knowledge”, because it developed in the culture of the 20th century, today Design, more than other disciplines, has to deal with these crises of that same cultural and technological context, within which it has itself developed and acted.

Design is therefore called to re-read its disciplinary status to consolidate its nature. Having reached the time-frame of 2020, considered by many as a reference, we have the challenge to go further, “steer change” rather than suffer it, reformulate principles and update practices.

In 2015 the UN sets a new milestone for 2030, placing 17 strategic goals and pushing the whole society to face them and reach them.

diid, in 2020, accepting UN exhortation, opens to reflection and testimonies on “if“ and on “how” Design can face and therefore can guide the changes of the contemporary, and evolves towards new forms and models of knowledge, of education, of practice. Setting the time horizon for 2030, the question is how to explore the level of Design awareness at the basis of change and the reference values.

By opening to the international scenario, diid aims to understand how the evolutionary processes of Design are developing in different cultures and geographical areas.

diid #70
Design 2030: Knowledge

Deadline Full Paper 12th of March 2020

complementarity | multidimensionality | knowledge of knowledge |
Knowledge Design | forms of knowledge

The system of knowledge and skills is ever more fragmented, and it evolves rapidly due to the new technological configurations such as the Internet of Things and the digital society revolution.

It is necessary to inquire whether Design can still be considered a discipline of “making”, with a strong technical-applicative value, or if it is giving way to other more specific technological knowledge, such as Engineering, carving out for itself a new role into the fields of cultural and human studies through a mainly speculative-critical approach. Can this trend, that seems to lead towards an asymmetrical, competitive system, be considered a drift, an opportunity or an inevitable evolution?

The issue wishes to investigate whether and which forms of connections are “flourishing” between Design and other kinds of knowledge and how does Design redefine the potential forms that knowledge can assume under the current conditions, being characterized by an increasingly qualitative and powerful dialogue between the analogical world and the digital one (Schnapp, 2015).

The diid issue Design 2030: Knowledge is oriented towards the evolving future of the discipline, starting from the historical statement that, during the years of the most exaggerated methodologism, Design has always preserved its own basically creative roots. According to Ettore Sottsass, making design has never been limited to “oiling the automation of function”, but it has always interpreted in a sensitive manner the real and perceived environment, the individual experiences, the social and technological settings characterizing the lives of human beings.

As the industrial chain has become fragmented, Design has become a monological reference for the project development and it addresses nowadays a multitude of possibilities, constantly renewing itself through the contribution of diversified knowledge. In line with the metamorphosis of contemporaneity, in a highly experimental research field, Design gets combined with Electronics and Materials Engineering, Biotechnologies, Natural Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, Philosophy and Human studies in general.

«With the segmentation of knowledge, it is impossible to grasp the multidimensional, fundamental and global issues of the present time in their relentless complexity».

Each “knowledge pattern” should contain reasonable margins of flexibility that capture, preserve and enhance the differences and peculiarities of the disciplines and of the operational practices involved in research. The different expertise having their roots in sectorial knowledge should be able to communicate to each other through a common language that can convert and adapt specialized knowledge. We can imagine new forms of relationship, organization and intensification of knowledge, mechanisms that trigger innovation through the “collision” between different disciplinary areas, coming across new possibilities.

In this direction, as Schnapp claims, Knowledge Design becomes an experimental model for human sciences, which means testing new tools in order to design high participation rate initiatives in a deep cross-disciplinarity dimension. Design brings about a new kind of knowledge in order to manage and interact in a critical and innovative way with the big amounts of data and to rethink the transformation into meaningful representations and narrations.

It is a question of rethinking the collective research as a synthesis between the humanistic culture and the scientific one, able to guide people towards living the technological leap with meaning and conscience. This is what Bonomi defines “the discipline of the soul”, of the technical culture that reembodies the topic of collective redistribution of the increasing benefits. Here the process of renewal of thought, knowledge and training would allow us to grasp the links between processes, interactions and inferences among plural phenomena, going beyond hyper specialization, technicalities and knowledge fragmentation.

This requires an overall metamorphosis that conserves the best of the legacy of the past in order to combine it with radical and creative knowledge regeneration.

The aim of the call Design 2030: Knowledge is to investigate the different methodological declinations used in research in order to foster «complementarity and not disjunction anymore, a dialogical culture between homo prosaicus and homo poeticus, between homo faber and homo ludens, between homo oeconomicus and homo imaginarius» (Morin, 2001). In accordance with the diid structure, the call is open to papers for the two sections, Make and Focus, that encourage reflections on approaches where:

– new knowledge is being explored in order to tackle the “multiple”;
– multidimensionality is being interpreted in order to increase knowledge;
– new forms of relationship between “making” with a humanistic approach and with a technical-scientific one are being designed.

Make is the section that opens the debate by sharing research, projects, products that reveal processes, approaches and visions in an experimental way, exploring new knowledge forms and models and requiring contaminations between “pure” research area and the fields of “practice”. This is useful in order to deal with the discontinuity between past and future and to find solutions for the problems of the contemporary society.

Focus is the section that gathers critical reflections on the studied subject by building original scientific-cultural connections related to the topic of the issue.

diid #71
Design 2030: Education

Deadline Full Paper 15th of July 2020

The Call Design 2030: Education was launched at the end of 2019, to investigate how the 21st-century society major and profound transformations, due to the advent of the digital revolution, are also influencing or modifying the consolidated and historical educational models in the Design field.
While we were developing this topic, we have been clashed, suddenly and unexpectedly, with the first and real global emergency (after the digital revolution) due to the virulent pandemic infection explosion.
Despite we will never know if the results of this Call will be different without such pandemic emergency, this represents a significant opportunity to reflect on what is changing, at an unexpected and extraordinary rate, in the field of education. The harsh reality is overcoming all the given certainties, and today we are experiencing that now it is possible what we thought was impossible (just until a short time ago).
Given these considerations, the call is opening a deep and wide reflection about the fluid and complex reality of Design education.
From analyses and references of the past and present in their historical dimension, the aim is to focus on new and innovative training models, their general principles, the relationship between theoretical studies and practical activities, the relationship between the territory and the context of industrial and manufacturing production.

Public and private academic institutions, associations, and networks are offering new methods and approaches, both thematic and multidisciplinary, in increasingly varied and articulated forms, so developing new and renovated educational models, giving an interpretation and intercepting a strong demand from society and its related offer.

Today Design is widespread and pervasive, increasingly oriented towards improving and satisfying the quality of life in contemporary society. Design is experiencing a digital and computational ubiquity, even in its most traditional aspects.

According to these reasons, this Call is exploring new teaching and learning paths in the Design Education, not only based on the different disciplinary articulations but also based on the different geographical, economic and political contexts.
Indeed, Design is combining knowledge, disciplines and skills, representing a hybrid form both in contents and language.
Design Education assumes various aspects of autonomy based on different local heritage, as well as, the contribution of academic, professional and the productive contexts.
In this uncertain and transitory historical time, in this kaleidoscopic reality, a fundamental question arises: does it make sense to talk about a specific Design training or is Design becoming a key discipline for other training projects aimed to our evolving society?

Despite their differences, the tracks “Make” and “Focus” take into consideration some joint reflections.
What are the boundaries of the Design discipline?
What skills and competences should the designer have, also considering the different forms and articulations of the current training offer and demand?
Can the relationship between research and teaching still be a discriminating point between professional training and the education oriented more towards social responsibility and critical awareness about the innovation and experimentation processes?
What is the role and the impact of on-line teaching within the experimental education methods addressing intergenerational and intercultural audience?
Is it still enough to have training based on the interaction between art, design and architecture?
Can Design culture move over the humanistic and scientific culture in order to focus on the simpler capability to transform the human needs into products able to improve life and social relations?

The track “Make” aims to share training and educational experiences, both developed or under construction, with a robust experimental nature, as well as approaches and visions exploring new methods, tools and models.
In many of these models, the pluralism of the philosophy and the thematic orientation characterise the contamination between the spheres of theory and practice, not always in a balanced way.
Likewise, the training models develop new forms of aggregation and active and collaborative participation, related to professional associations, networks, co-design groups, open-source design communities, as appropriate solutions to the problems of contemporary society, in between the discontinuity from the past and the imagination of the future.

The Track “Focus” aims at investigating all those experiences, in which laboratories with digital and physical tools, are a major part of teaching and learning methods, out of the institutional educational contexts.
These can be considered as training experiences at all levels – from primary school to higher education and life-long education – offered by institutions, companies, professional associations, public or private industrial research centres.

diid #72
Design 2030: Practices

Deadline Full Paper 15th of July 2020

We recognize Design as a discipline of “doing”.
Its practical dimension has often exceeded the theoretical one, and the latter has always placed the first one at the centre.
However, if in the 20th century, this type of approach it was considered consolidated, is it possible today to say that the dimension of “doing” associated with Design is still so predominant?
How is Design expressing its applied dimension?
Makes still the “profession” of the designer specialize in product categories sense?
Several studies, both economic and social, are questioning or trying to prefigure what the world of work will be in the coming decades.
Many are focusing their attention on the role that (smart) machines will have on the work and, more recently, how this revolution will base on the cooperation between machines and human beings.
A World Economic Forum survey predicted that in 2025, more than 50% of the work should be by machines.
This dependence on technology will be different from what we know today. It will increasingly resemble a real partnership where at the machines, in addition to the operational capabilities – of speed, efficiency, productivity – will be required skills such as creativity, passion, entrepreneurial mindset, to accomplish what many call the Collaborative Industry.
This partnership naturally implies that the job will change, just as the job search process itself will be completely different.
It will be an evolutionary process in which society has conquered the “factory space”, free from any symbolic industrial enclosure. The work will stop to be represented and carried out in a place because increasingly widespread and structured in a series of tasks in which the machine learning organization itself will pursue the best talent for evermore discreet tasks.
In this scenario, what role can Design play?
What space will it occupy between the professions of the future? What skills will be required?
What should be its relationship with the systems of production and consumption?
Moreover, above all, could we still call the operators of Design “designer”?
The issue opens up to applied experiments where Design is outlining a different nature and prefiguring a new role in and for society.

The call is open on two different tracks.

For the track “Make“, the expected contributions will have to tell experiences (direct or indirect) of new applied forms of Design that are under experiment today in order to be dominant in the near future.
The authors are asked to open an exploratory investigation, a form of scouting, on the new practical dimensions of Design by answering these questions:
What are the experiences that demonstrate new forms of practice, professional or experimental, of Design?
Where do these experiences take place: in schools, research centres, companies, start-ups?
What are the results, in terms of products, materials and intangibles, that these new practices are obtaining?

For the track “Focus“, the contributions must express with an evolutionary key the changes that Design is experiencing as a consequence of social, economic and technological changes in a new sort of hybridization with other skills, generating new ones.
The authors have to prefigure the different forms of the practical and multidisciplinary dimension of the next Design, answering these questions:
To what social, cultural, technological, economical, productive evolutions are these new practices providing feedback?
Is there a multidisciplinary dimension of these practices? If so, what other knowledge are feeding this evolved form of Design?
Is it possible to recognize as Designer even those who have not trained in the Design schools? If yes, does it make sense to call them designers, in the most classic sense, or are we witnessing the birth of new practices?

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