Design and ‘the Social’: Mapping new Approaches to Inequality in Design
Tuesday 7 February 2017
Organised by Mona Sloane and Nell Beecham, LSE Sociology
This event looks to map out the contemporary social science research and thinking into design in order to explore how designers operate as social theorists, actors and activists. It aims to engage with the current and politically pressing debate on social inequality while negotiating the specificities of design as a profession that is both creative and commercial.
‘Design’ is a term that is gaining momentum in social science research, with new works engaging with the term emerging in anthropology (Gunn et al 2015), cultural studies (Kimbell 2011; McRobbie 2016), science and technology studies (Farias & Wilkie 2016) and philosophy (Parsons 2015). These important works explore how actors operate in wider cultural and economic fields. Seemingly missing from this picture is a critical engagement with the ways in which designers theorise, engage with, and act upon notions of ‘the social’ and how these may challenge or reaffirm (social) ‘inequality’. Designers are tasked with speculating about not only user-design interactions, but future ways of living. In other words, designers engage in ‘sociological’ practices, putting a range of ‘classificatory systems’ (Tyler 2015) to work in order to make sense of and design for people. ‘Classing’ people as part of this commercial and ‘sociological work’ is not only socially intentional, but consequential. It can, therefore, reaffirm or challenge ‘inequality’ beyond the notions of ‘class’ and ‘capital’ (Bourdieu 1986). This event looks to map out the contemporary social science research and thinking into design in order to explore how designers operate as social theorists, actors and activists. It aims to engage with the current and politically pressing debate in inequality while negotiating the specificities of design as a profession that is both creative and commercial.
13.30-14.00 Registration and Coffee
14.00-14.05 Opening: Mona Sloane, LSE Sociology, Co-Organiser
14.05-14.20 Welcome: Prof Mike Savage, Co-Director International Inequalities Institute
Chair: Prof Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths College
14.20-14.40 Dr Evangelia Chrysikou, University College London: The Social Invisibility of Mental Health Facilities: Understanding Social Exclusion through Art and Architecture
14.40-15.00 Ellen K Foster, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Claims of Equity and Expertise: Feminist Interventions in the Design of DIY Communities and Cultures
15.00-15.20 Nitin Bathla, Researcher and Social Designer, Delhi: Autoprogettazione as a Social Project
15.40-15.50 Dr Adam Kaasa, Director Theatrum Mundi, LSE: The Politics of Design
15.50-16.05 Coffee Break
Chair: Dr Liz Moor, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College
16.05-16.25 Dr Dimitrios Charitatos, Democritus University: Pauperized Luxury Design and Economic Crisis
16.25-16.45 Dr Smita Yadav, University of Sussex: Redesigning Social Inequality, Modern Infrastructure, and Social Mobility in India
16.45-17.05 Fani Kostourou, University College London: Mass Factory Housing: Design and Social Reform
17.30-18.25 Key Note: Dr Lucy Kimbell, Director of the Innovations Insights Hub, University of the Arts London
18.25-18.30 Closing: Nell Beecham, LSE Sociology, Co-Organiser
18.30-19.30 Reception, ‘The George IV’, 28 Portugal St, London WC2A 2HE
BSA Member Registration £10, Non-Member Registration £25. Register here.