• What do we mean: the language of design for sustainable practices

Gooding, Luke, Baurley, Sharon, Boxall, Emily, Knox, Daniel, Nordmoen, Charlotte, Shepley, Alec, Phillips, Robert, Simmons, Tom and West, Sarah, 2024, Conference or Workshop, What do we mean: the language of design for sustainable practices at Preferences of Design, Budapest, Hungary, 15-17 May 2024. (Submitted)

Abstract or Description:

Design research has metamorphosed exponentially over ten years, with discipline titles becoming muted and complex. Discipline terminology, previously dictated outputs, for example product design included artefact outputs, but now includes strategic direction, highlighting communications importance. This change serves as a catalyst for enquiry, not only in what design is, but shifting the speculative realm of what it can do, cultivate or foster.

This position paper underscores the importance of language in propelling Ecological Citizenship and shaping sustainable futures diverging from conventional paths. Acknowledging the impact of climate change on all life forms, the article recognizes design's dual role: as both a solution and a challenge in confronting climate-related issues (Godelnik, R. 2021). The distinction between mere participation and empowering individuals to have agency emerges as pivotal in this context. This however is reliant on the systems, interventions and agency those individuals are empowered with. Emphasising language's significance in post-participatory activities, the article addresses how language has been underexplored within "design for sustainable practices" compared to its prevalence in "design for inclusion" (Nuñez, 2013; Reed and Monk, 2006). It presents an iterative glossary (not as an authoritative guide) but the groundwork for the burgeoning field of post-participation.

Our agenda aims to empower citizens, to actively shape environments within a contemporary design framework. The exploration underscores language as a crucial component in design influencing perceptions and power dynamics in co-design processes (Sanders, et al., 2008). The article advocates for language fostering collaboration, aligning with contemporary notions where precision in language cultivates trust and propagates cultural understanding.

Exploring the significant impact of language within design, emphasises its pivotal role in shaping perceptions, power dynamics, and socio-cultural intricacies. The suggested glossary, curated by team members of The Ecological Citizens project, offers a preliminary glimpse into terms commonly employed in discussions about design for sustainable practices. These terms, including for example 'gatekeeper' and 'preferable futures,' prompt the need to comprehend their nuanced meanings, potential cross-disciplinary misunderstanding and variations in interpretation. Understanding how these terms are used and perceived differently becomes essential in fostering effective communication and shared understanding within the discourse. Moreover, it stresses the need for sensitivity to linguistic disparities across cultures, emphasising language's pivotal role in post-participatory design, empowering communities, fostering inclusivity, and driving responsible transformations.

Ultimately, the study advocates for an inclusive design approach that harnesses language to empower communities and individuals while driving responsible transformations in the face of challenges like the climate crisis, climate justice, and ecocide. The collective perspective shaped by evolving language and terminology post-participation aims to foster collaborative and inclusive approaches crucial for sustainable transitions without marginalising or undermining societies or cultures. The People & Planet Consumer Insights report (Ingka Group, 2023) states one of the highest priorities is to “continue to engage the many people on people and planet topics – rationally and emotionally”. What is more rational or emotional than language and comprehension. This encompasses distant futures, where we are all included, have agency and unite to achieve common aims.

Official URL: https://cumulusbudapest2024.mome.hu/pages/tracks/w...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W280 Interactive and Electronic Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: EPSRC [EP/W020610/1]
Identification Number or DOI: TBC
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2024 11:57
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2024 11:57
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5702
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