Manchester School of Art is proud to be hosting the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) Conference 2019 on 02-05 September 2019. The conference theme – DESIGN REVOLUTIONS – will explore how design drives and responds to revolutionary thinking through questioning the norm, probing the now and embracing the new. There are 9 tracks to explore the conference theme: Change, Technology, Making, People, Living, Value, Learning, Voices and Open (see below for full details).

While IASDR 2019 is a design -ed conference, we would welcome interdisciplinary engagement in the conference that draws upon our strengths in the arts and humanities going that go beyond traditional notions of design.

Dr Annie Shaw is leading a number of activities that are specifically designed to enable a wide range of staff to become involved in the conference. This includes a collaboration with MMU Special Collections and opportunities for staff to showcase their practice-based research. Feel free to contact Annie if you would like further information on these activities.

About IASDR 2019: For the first time IASDR will be held in the UK and will foster new thinking towards a compelling, meaningful and radical dialogue regarding the role that design plays in addressing societal and organisational issues. The biannual conference enables academics, practitioners and students join together to explore contemporary agendas, emerging directions and future challenges that are at the forefront of design research. IASDR 2019 will provide opportunities for the presentation and publication of a collection of high-quality peer reviewed research papers alongside the space to discuss and debate the evolution and revolution of design.

Please visit our website for more detail: 

Kind Regards

Professor Martyn Evans (Manchester Metropolitan University, Chair) 

Professor Rachel Cooper (Lancaster University, Co-Chair) 

Professor Steve Gill (Cardiff Metropolitan University, Co-Chair)

Dr James Moultrie (University of Cambridge, Co-Chair) 

Dr Annie Shaw (Manchester Metropolitan University, Co-Chair) 


IASDR 2019 is organised under 9 parallel tracks that reflect the breadth and opportunities of the norm, the now and the new of design research:

  • Change – Design continually evolves as it responds to the context in which it operates. It spans boundaries and is shaped by disruptions – be they political, ideological or conceptual. What forms of change should design embrace and who are the thought leaders that are instigating change? What new business models and modes of operation should design support? How should design transition from the now to the new?
  • Learning – Design is inherently a learning process that supports creativity to transform current situations to preferred ones. While creativity is considered critical in education, is design being eclipsed by STEM subjects? How should we respond to the current challenges presented in education? What ways can design enhance learning experiences? How should design nurture creativity towards new ways of learning?
  • Living – Design surrounds us by shaping way we live through our consumption of products, the services we use and the cities we inhabit. It impacts the environment, health and wellbeing of all. What vision of living should design suggest? How should design be used to enhance our lives and the environment? How should design improve the way we approach sustainability and the circular economy? How can design enhance the urban environment?
  • Making – Design and making are intrinsically linked, be it through the use of the hand or the machine. The creative possibilities of materials and processes have long been harnessed by designers to innovate. What models of production, fabrication and modification are going to shape the future? How are materials shaping design and how are designers shaping materials? Is the democratisation of making a positive of negative issue for design?
  • People – Understanding human behaviour, and just as importantly misbehaviour, provides opportunities to design collaboratively for, and with, people. By enabling social and cultural dimensions to be considered, design can connect to the needs of citizens today and in the future. Why are people important to design? How will co-design and co-production models evolve in the next decade? What social dimensions in society can design embrace and why? 
  • Technology – From digital automation to machine learning and artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things, the technology landscape that design needs to engage with is become increasingly complex. Long gone are the days when design was able to humanising technology without engaging with other disciplines. How can design support the 4th industrial revolution? What is the role of design in discovering new technology? How should design connect technology and humans? How can design and creativity unlock the potential of digital technologies?
  • Thinking – The concept of design thinking has become ubiquitous within the design, business and innovation fields. While designers are able to consider complex and often competing demands, the nature of how they think when doing so is less understood. What are the relationships between thinking and doing in design? Can thinking by, for or through design address societal challenges and unlock innovation?? Has design thinking passed its sell by date or is it still a valuable proposition?
  • Value – Communicating the relationship between design and business has long been a challenge for design. While design is recognised as a driver for innovation, design has long been seen as a cost rather than an investment. How can design be effectively managed to maximise its economic value? What evidence is needed to justify the place of design at the board level? How will new models of design shape innovation thinking?
  • Voices – Design is global and multicultural yet debates have for a long time biased particular mindsets, ideologies and philosophies. While there are voices that claim that design is inclusive, realities have tended to support existing notions of power and hierarchal socio-political systems. How can design become more inclusive, ethical and sustainable? Has the time come for the decolonisation of design? What are the ethical challenges that design must address and how should they address it?
  • Open – Design Revolutions is about the novel and the new so we encourage out of the box thinking, so challenge conventions and probe the norm. What are the critical debates in design research? How should design research engage with other disciplines and what new forms of inter- and multi-disciplinarity will emerge? Who are the key thinkers and doers in design and why? What is revolutionary thinking in design research?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.