• Beyond co-production: Design as a means of evoking agency through ecological citizenship

Phillips, Robert, Alexander, John, Baurley, Sharon, Boxall, Emily, Gooding, Luke, Knox, Daniel, Nordmoen, Charlotte, Shepley, Alec, Simpson, Tracy, Simmons, Tom and West, Sarah, 2024, Journal Article, Beyond co-production: Design as a means of evoking agency through ecological citizenship Cumulus Budapest 2024, TBC (TBC). TBC-TBC. ISSN TBC (Submitted)

Abstract or Description:

Design (as a practice) encompasses; appropriate, contextual and strategic interventions empowering new ways of living together. In current times of; climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, design has a role to play (Passarelli, et al., 2021). This triple planetary crisis threatens ecosystems at a global scale, necessitating contextual approaches. Designer Buckminster Fuller framed design as supporting whole systems “mak[ing] the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest time possible”, pioneering sustainable opportunities (Buckminster Fuller Institute, 2022). We (the public) are used to being designed ‘to or for’, with common terminology referring to people as users and consumers, not ‘citizens’ (Alexander, et al., 2022). Citizens are already becoming involved in ‘Public Interest Technologies', a contextual design field akin to democracy and politics (McGuinness, et al., 2021).

Cross-disciplinary practices nurture new approaches to collectively design ‘with’ people, enabling public agency for sustainable action. Design propositions are not always initiated by designers, or even simply organisations, but created by people in-the-field. For example, co-design (collaborative design) “changes the roles of the designer, the researcher and the person formerly known as the user” (Sanders & Stappers, 2008). Juxtaposed with this (in academic fields) is participatory design as “its object of study is the tacit knowledge developed and used by those who work with technologies” (Spinuzzi, C. 2005). Co-design and participatory design often focus on the designed process or design output, but rarely both.

Ecological Citizen(s) (EC), is an approach (and project) to create agency and sustainable actions within contemporary times (Phillips, et al., 2022). Ecological Citizenship is a design approach intent on catalysing/inspiring/invoking a ‘citizen relationship’ with our natural world. We focus on citizenship as a practice rather than a ‘status distinction’. It concerns the agency to mutually benefit others and the planet through sustainable means. This positioning article includes; historic and contemporary insights, literature, up-to-date practice based examples/projects, experiments and proposals. The contextual examples offer differing opportunities enabling citizens to respond to issues, impacting their lives and the lives within spaces and places in which they live.

This position advocates for designing proposals to catalyse citizens' agency, supported by appropriate technological outputs. The position also champions publically accessible means, giving citizens both options and agency. We define a clear distinction between ‘design for citizenship’ and citizen positioning, a post-participatory perspective for design. Our research question unpicks: What are the attributes and positive benchmarks of design, as a means of evoking agency through Ecological Citizenship? The audiences for this work (we believe) are not only designers, but leaders in; social innovation, social decision making, design for equity, civic engagement, communities, DIY movements and more. Our Ecological Citizen(s) framework; supports individuals, organisations, businesses to make more positive choices, impacting the planet we inhabit and are reliant upon for all life. The convergence of; the triple planetary crisis, Ecological Citizenship, public interest technologies and designing for citizen agency, offers new modalities of ways we ‘live together’... Unified in a framework of ‘steps toward Ecological Citizenship’.

Official URL: https://cumulusbudapest2024.mome.hu/pages/tracks/w...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W280 Interactive and Electronic Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: EPSRC [EP/W020610/1]
Identification Number or DOI: TBC
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2024 10:06
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2024 09:52
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5668
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