Design PhD 2021 Summer School
23 – 29 June 2021

MORE-THAN-HUMAN FUTURES

Reframing design knowledge provotyping for human-non-human ecologies

The Summer School

Today’s social, political and environmental emergencies require specific efforts in terms of thinking/acting in designing practices to produce knowledge. The Summer School wants to explore what might be defined as human-non-human ecologies as relational agencies that shape transformed ways of living creating a renewed sense of a shared world and new modes of knowledge production. The pandemic has struck our usual way to think (about) the future and this may be an occasion to better understand the huge potential of design anticipation and speculative futures as a methodological tool to convey concepts and information in reframing design knowledge boundaries.

In particular, the school will be a theoretical and pragmatic occasion to “provotype” futures. First depicted by Preben Mogensen (1992) in his essay “Towards a provotyping approach in systems development”, provotyping consists in the action of provoking by actually trying out the situations in which the problem emerges, or better “provoking through concrete experience”. The technique has been borrowed from several fields of application, from user studies (Boer, 2011) to Foresight (Pistorius, 2012), and more recently also by design professionals (Kerspersen @design frictions).

PHILOSOPHY TALK
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
CONTRIBUTORS
FACULTY
PROGRAMME
PREVIOUS EDITIONS
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Open Lectures: Keynotes and DESIS Philosophy Talk

The Keynotes and DESIS Philosophy Talk of the Summer School are open lectures given by international speakers. If you are not attending the course as a participant, you can attend the open lectures signing up for a Free Ticket via Eventbrite.

The school will be an inquiry based on Research through Design (RtD) and especially on the speculative and critical practices which could explore future transformations through the lenses of theory and practice, given also the contributions coming from other disciplines. In particular, the aim is to discuss new ideas of design research that move away from an exclusive, positivist vision that tends to assimilate it stricto sensu to a conventional scientific approach.

The School proposes an exploration of new epistemologies and praxis as inspirational methodological opportunities to develop an innovative RtD inquiry. In fact, it aims to explore the potentialities of an inquiry which could be meaningful for an inclusive design practice which can produce original, tacit/explicit, future-oriented knowledge in complex forms, languages, assemblages that are not exclusively textual. Therefore, the School embraces the (digital and collaborative) studio format within the doctoral didactic path and it wants to sustain doctoral students’ capabilities in applying their competencies and expertise (and the research tools typical of their disciplinary context) to foster the investigation of how the provotyped futures might cross their own research theme and process considered as an assemblage of epistemological, experimental and cognitive models and a codification of non-textual knowledge and practices (defining their accountability and comparability with other disciplinary approaches characterized by Research through Design processes).

The School includes stimulating lectures and (digital) collaborative activities where students, organized in small groups, will have the opportunity to integrate, through a peer-to-peer exploration and discussion, the insight provided by the Keynotes and Guest Speakers and a collective + individual exercise.

The Summer School is further enriching the collaboration beetween a network of 6 PhD programmes in Design, spanning Northern and Southern Europe and the USA, and currently collaborating within the “DoCS4Design – Doctoral Courses System for Design” research project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Also, the 2021 edition will host a collaboration with “FUEL4Design – Future Education and Literacy for Designers” research project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and the School will open with the Keynote Event “DESIS Philosophy Talk #7.3 The Politics of Nature: Designing as Speculative Ethics”. The DESIS Philosophy Talks are an initiative of Ezio Manzini & Virginia Tassinari of the DESIS Network – Design for social innovation and sustainability, aiming to nurture the dialogue between design & philosophy and between practice & theory.

The Summer School proposes a virtual classroom educational approach aiming to enable open knowledge dynamics, through practices of peer-to-peer exchange and sharing. Part of the goal is to rethink the educator’s role, which should not be intended anymore as a “master” (in the classical sense), but rather as a “mentor”, a guide into the intricate art of heuristics. This approach is particularly relevant today, as the quantity of knowledge exceeds the individual capability of mastering it and therefore a critical attitude becomes a necessary tool to address complexity.

CRITICAL FEEDBACK

Expressing opinions and comments which can generate a useful debate

CRITICAL CONTEXT

Give background to critics and questions, starting by specific sectors or disciplines

BRING REAL FACTS TO THE DISCUSSION

Facts matter and they can give depth and context to research questions, providing a foundation for intervention

PARTICIPANTS

Participants are doctoral students from the PhD programme in Design of the Politecnico di Milano and invited students from the following institutions:

    • Doctoral Programme of Aalto School of Art, Design and Architecture | Aalto University, Helsinki – Finland
    • PhD in Transition Design, School of Design | Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh – USA
    • PhD in Design, Institute of Design | IIT Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago – USA
    • PhD in Design Engineering, Dyson School of Design Engineering | Imperial College, London – UK
    • TU Delft Graduate School, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering | TU Delft, Delft – The Netherlands
LOCATION

The Summer School will be delivered online on Teams Digital Platform.

DESIS Philosophy Talk #7.3

The Politics of Nature: Designing scenarios of multi-species collaborative survivals
June 23rd, 4:15 - 6:15pm

Curated by Virginia Tassinari, Research Fellow, Department of Design – Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

With the support of Francesco Vergani and Vanessa Monna, PhD candidates, Department of Design – Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Contributors:

  • Alder Keleman Saxena, Feral Atlas 
  • Laura Forlano, Associate Professor of Design, Institute of Design – Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (USA)
  • Daniela K. Rosner, Visiting Scholar at Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany), Associate Professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington (USA)
  • Gabrielle Benabdallah, Teaching Associate of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington (USA)
  • Delfina Fantini von Ditmar, Design Researcher and Lecturer at the Royal College of Art (London, UK)

The DESIS Philosophy Talks are an initiative of Ezio Manzini & Virginia Tassinari of the DESIS Network – Design for social innovation and sustainability, aiming to nurture the dialogue between design & philosophy and between practice & theory. This is the third talk of the last series dedicated to the topic of post-anthropocentric design and will bring in conversation the Politecnico PhD programme in Design with leading contemporary philosopher, anthropologists and design researchers.

Concept: Many designers are currently experimenting and “provotyping” more-than-human futures, provoking new questions and debates, pointing to less anthropocentric ways of thinking, acting and constructing together a common world of multi-species coexistence. More-than-human futures are currently playing a key role for designing to step out of an anthropocentric and patriarchal way of thinking, and envisioning new ways to intend the political agency of design beyond an anthropocentric mindset. But designing is not the only discourse reflecting on more-than-human futures. In this DESIS Philosophy Talk, we will have a glance at how anthropology is currently reflecting on those issues, and bring into dialogue the experiences of design researchers working on more-than-human futures and building a discourse around their potential value and meaning, together with the experience of Alder Keleman Saxena, who within the Feral Atlas Project, (together with Anna Tsing, Jennifer Deger and Feifei Zhou) is currently working at questioning and exploring diverse ways of envisioning multi-species coexistence. During this informal conversation, we address concepts playing a key role in the Feral Atlas such as Anthropocene, patchiness, infrastructures, situated knowledge and feral, and explore their potential for designing more-than-human futures.

Programme: 

16:15 – 16:25 Welcome and introduction
16:25 – 16:35 Laura Forlano. Framing the conversation.
16:35 – 17:15 Alder Keleman Saxena
17:15 – 17:25 Daniela K. Rosner
17:25 – 17:35 Delfina Fantini van Ditmar
17:35 – 17:45 Laura Forlano
17:45 – 17:55 Gabrielle Benabdallah
17:55 – 18:15 Open discussion
Sum up and closing words
LINK TO DESIS EVENT

Keynote speakers

Meet the keynote speakers of the course

Betti Marenko

Reader in Design and Techno-Digital Futures, University of the Arts London (UK) + Contextual Studies Programme Leader, BA (Hons.) Product Design. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (UK) + WRHI Specially Appointed Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan)

At the intersection of process philosophy, design studies and the critique of technologies Betti’s transdisciplinary approach studies the relations of design, society and culture and their role in shaping futures. Her work appears in conferences worldwide, edited volumes, peer-reviewed journals. She is the co-editor of Deleuze and Design (2015) and Designing Smart Objects in Everyday Life (2021).
LINK TO BETTI MARENKO

Derrick de Kerckhove

Sociologist, Visiting Professor at Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

LINK TO DERRICK DE KERCKHOVE

Laura Forlano

Associate Professor of Design, Institute of Design - Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (USA)

Laura Forlano, a Fulbright award-winning and National Science Foundation funded scholar, is a writer, social scientist and design researcher. She is an Associate Professor of Design at the Institute of Design where she is Director of the Critical Futures Lab. Forlano’s research is focused on the aesthetics and politics at the intersection between design and emerging technologies. She is an editor of three books: Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press 2019), digitalSTS (Princeton University Press 2019) and From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen (MIT Press 2011). She received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.
LINK TO LAURA FORLANO

Jonathan Chapman

Professor, Director of Doctoral Studies, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design, USA

Chapman is Full Professor & Director of Doctoral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. His research shapes design paradigms for longer-lasting products and experiences—an approach he calls “emotionally durable design.” He works with global businesses and governments, from Philips and COS, to the House of Lords and the UN—advancing the social and ecological relevance of products, technologies, systems, and policies.
LINK TO JONATHAN CHAPMAN

Contributors

Valentina Auricchio

Assistant Professor, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

PhD and Assistant professor of the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano. Specialized in managing strategic design projects and in particular international projects for small and medium industries, Design Methods and Design Thinking processes.

Stefano Crabu

Assistant Professor, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Stefano Crabu (Ph.D. in Social Sciences at the Università di Padova) is a science, technology, and medicine sociologist at the Department of Design (Politecnico di Milano). He works on scientific and technological innovation processes in the life sciences and ICT. His recent publications have centred on the sociomaterial and epistemological aspects of translational biomedicine, laboratory practices, and hacking practices. He is Principal Investigator of the ``En-RRI project``, which intends to have an impact on the empowerment of the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process.

Marco Quaggiotto

Assistant Professor, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Marco Quaggiotto is a researcher with an interest in the development of tools and methodologies to explore, represent, and communicate data-rich scenarios. He coordinates DataInterfaces, an experimental collaboration laboratory that merges communication design, data science, and computer science to address the open issues in the creation of tools for data exploration and communication.

Davide Spallazzo

Assistant Professor, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Davide Spallazzo holds a Ph.D. in Design and is active in the Interaction Design and Human-Computer Interaction field. He focuses on a human-centred approach to digital innovation and meaning-making, applied to diverse areas of inquiry. Over the years, he coordinated and took part in several national and international research projects concerning digital technologies in the Cultural Heritage field and serious gaming. He coordinates the Meet-AI research project, whose main aim is to create a new UX assessment method for AI-infused products.

Annalinda De Rosa

Research Fellow, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

PhD in Design, Adjunct Professor at the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano and at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan. She is part of POLIMI DESIS Lab within the DESIS Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability). Her research concerns the relationship between spatial and service design and advanced training models for PhD in Design education, with specific focus on design-driven models for the incubation of innovative processes for the cultural and creative sectors for improving social cohesion and intercultural dialogue through participatory design approaches.

Ammer Harb

PhD student, Department of Design - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Ammer Harb is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher. Ammer works in the area of Design Futures and Speculative Design, aiming to develop design methods, tools, and
tactics to tackle future challenges. He holds an MSc in Design from Brunel University London, specializing in Human-Centered Design. He is currently appointed as a PhD candidate and Research Fellow in Design at Politecnico di Milano.

Faculty

Chiara Colombi, PhD

Associate Professor,
Department of Design,
Politecnico di Milano

Her research interests concern knowledge creation processes, codification of meta-design research praxis and development of merchandising systems in “culture intensive” industries, with a specific focus on the fashion sector.

Stefano Maffei, PhD

Full Professor,
Department of Design,
Politecnico di Milano

He teaches Advanced Product-Service System and Production Models and Service Design at the School of Design, Politecnico di Milano. He is the Director of Polifactory the Fab Lab/Maker Space of Politecnico di Milano, of the Service Design Master and of the Service Innovation Academy at POLI.design, Politecnico di Milano. He coordinates international research projects and labs exploring the design for policy thematic area, also in collaboration projects with public bodies and institutions exploring the creation of innovation ecosystems based on openP2P collaboration between designers, makers/makerspaces and SMEs/Craftsmen.

Jonathan Chapman, PhD

Full Professor,
Director of Doctoral Studies,
School of Design, Carnegie Mellon

Chapman is Full Professor & Director of Doctoral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. His research shapes design paradigms for longer-lasting products and experiences—an approach he calls “emotionally durable design.” He works with global businesses and governments, from Philips and COS, to the House of Lords and the UN—advancing the social and ecological relevance of products, technologies, systems, and policies.

Manuela Celi, PhD

Associate Professor,
Department of Design,
Politecnico di Milano

Her research interests are concentrating on the relationship between design and futures deepening the methodologies of trends, scenarios, advanced design and design fiction. Actually she’s head of research for Polimi in the FUEL4Design Erasmus+ project that aims at developing knowledge, resources and methods to help young designers designing for complex tomorrows.

Programme

Keynotes are open lectures in Teams given by international speakers.

The open lectures and the entire programme are based on the Central European Summer Time (CEST)

23.06

Welcome and introduction

Paola Bertola, Full Professor, Coordinator of the PhD program in Design of Politecnico di Milano
3.00-3.15pm

School and programme presentation

Chiara Colombi, Stefano Maffei, Jonathan Chapman, Annalinda De Rosa
3.15-3.30pm

Prototyping: Positioning

Chiara Colombi, Manuela Celi, Annalinda De Rosa
3.30-4.00pm

Break

4.00-4.15pm

DESIS Philosophy Talk #7.3 - The Politics of Nature: Designing scenarios of multi-species collaborative survivals

Open event
Curated by Virginia Tassinari
Contributors: Alder Keleman Saxena, Laura Forlano, Daniela K. Rosner, Gabrielle Benabdallah, Delfina Fantini von Ditmar
4.15-6.15pm
LINK TO DESIS EVENT

24.06

Design Tools

Ammer Harb
2.30-3.00

Break

3.00-3.15

Keynote by Betti Marenko: Critical Practice in the Algorithmic Age

3.15-4.00pm

Keynote by Derrick de Kerckhove: To design the personal digital twin

4.00-4.45pm

Q&A

Moderated by Marco Quaggiotto and Davide Spallazzo
4.45-5.30pm
LINK TO BETTI MARENKO SPEECH
LINK TO DERRICK DE KERCKHOVE SPEECH

25.06

Teams work

Morning

Design Tools

Ammer Harb
2.30-3.00pm

Break

3.00-3.15pm

Keynote by Laura Forlano: Design’s Intimacies

3.15-4.00pm

Keynote: Jonathan Chapman: The Cage of Anthropocentrism

4.00-4.45pm

Q&A

Moderated by Valentina Auricchio and Stefano Crabu
4.45-5.30pm
LINK TO LAURA FORLANO SPEECH
LINK TO JONATHAN CHAPMAN SPEECH

28.06

Teams work

Morning

Embroidering fictitious, experimental threads through your PhD

Jonathan Chapman
2.30-3.00pm

Class activity and discussions

3.00-6.00pm

29.06

Teams work

Morning

Presentation of the state of the art by participants: draft of the provotype

4.00-5.00pm

Share-back from "embroidering" session

Jonathan Chapman
5.00-5.30pm

Concept timeline

Ammer Harb
5.30-6.00pm

22.07

Individual submission deadline

Including a short online meeting in the afternoon for final teamwork presentation
2.30-3.30pm

Take a look at previous editions