Living Design: The effective use of design for sustainability in maker enterprises

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Inst for the Contemporary Arts

Abstract

Sustainability is concerned with the particularities of context and place; it begins at the local level. However, small-scale local enterprises generally do not have the wherewithal to provide dedicated roles and expertise in sustainability and environmental stewardship. This problem can be overcome by university researchers, with expertise in these areas, working closely with small enterprises to create mutually beneficial, practical and economically viable solutions that are feasible at the local and regional levels.

This research project will carry out practice-based research at the local/regional level, working with micro-enterprises (<10 employees) to develop a practical Guide and online line resources for the implementation of design for sustainability in local 'making' businesses (small-scale manufacturing - furniture, lighting, ceramics, etc.). The Guide and its interactive resources will be a practical resource for designers and local enterprises and will provide a basis for these enterprises to upload examples, share their insights, add relevant information and offer feedback - thus offering a continuous improvement model that will be a valuable resource for businesses and for academics to build an effective, practical Guide and resources that are of real-world value.

This research will bring together the considerable expert knowledge of the PI (design for sustainability) and the Co-I (design futures) with first-hand information and insights from local/regional enterprises and associated stakeholders (chambers of commerce, business groups, suppliers etc.). In this way, the project will benefit from knowledge exchange between academia and business, will lay the groundwork for practical impact and thus will be beneficial to the competitiveness and economy future of the study region (Cumbria). The research findings, insights, lessons learned and approach can then be adapted to suit the needs of enterprises in other regions.

The research approach will begin by combining theoretical information and principles in design for sustainability and design futures with information gathered from field research in the study region. This provides a basis for design practice. Based on findings, the development of context-specific design criteria will lead to initial design concepts. Drawing on the practical experience, expertise and design skills of the PI, Co-I and RAs, initial design concepts will form a basis for workshops or exploratory dialogues with local enterprises and associated stakeholders. Design criteria will be refined, concepts will be modified and new directions identified. A further set of design concepts will lead to a series of design prototypes, which will form the basis of further dialogues with enterprises, the results of which will form the basis of the Guide (e.g. Design for Sustainability in Small Maker Enterprises: A 10 Step Guide) and associated, interactive resources. [This will be quite different from other guides currently available, such as the EUs Best Practice Guidance for Successful SME Engagement from the Institute of Sustainability which is "aimed primarily at individuals working in procurement/supply chain or contract management roles within large organisations".]

The Guide and interactive website will be a practical resource for small maker enterprises and a valuable research tool for university researchers to continuously improve the practical impact and viability of context-specific research in design for sustainability.

The research findings will be widely disseminated. Key findings and materials will be included on the dedicated website. There will be a series of journal papers, a book, conference papers and practical workshops, exhibitions of prototypes and shorter articles in professional journals, magazines and e-zines.

Planned Impact

The impact of this research upon a variety of non-academic beneficiaries can be summarized as follows:

- Local maker enterprises will be participants in, will contribute to, and will be provided with a guide that will allow them to effectively learn from academic research and other practitioners to develop and contribute to locally-appropriate, sustainable and meaningful designs, products and practices, and understand how these can be integrated with contemporary technologies, processes and communication strategies;

- Consumers will be provided with innovative, locally relevant, sustainable and meaningful designs and products along with a raised awareness of ethical and environmentally responsible processes;

- Commerce and industry will benefit from the development of commercially sustainable modes of engagement for the production of designs, products and practices that contribute to a new, more sustainable, meaningful and relevant rendition of material culture.
 
Title DESIGN FOR LIFE - engaging with sustainability by Stuart Walker 
Description Design for Life- engaging with sustainability, Blue Gallery and throughout the house, Brantwood (John Ruskin's House), Coniston, Cumbria April 16th - July 18th 2016. An exhibition of 30 new works including audio-visual video piece and short dramatic film piece. The exhibition was supported by Arts Council England and Lancaster University and included a public forum and school workshops to create Tastes of Sustainability. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact This was the first design exhibition in the history of Brantwood House - John Ruskin's home in Cumbria England. The exhibition attracted a wide audience and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Audience reviews indicated that they found the work extremely thought provoking and enlightening about the nature of design for sustainability. 
URL http://www.designforlife.website/
 
Title Design for Life Exhibition - Public Forum 
Description This activity relates to the exhibition DESIGN FOR LIFE: enagaing with sustainability reported elsewhere. It involved a tour of the exhibition followed by a series of talks, followed by questions and discussion, followed by drinks and canapes -- note the food was prepared by the Chef of Brantwood from recipes designed by the school children at the local primary school. The receipes were based on their impressions from their visit to the exhibition earlier in the month. Approximately 20 children plus their teachers and two facilitators were involved in the preparation of the recipes. Approximately 50 people attended the forum. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Feedback from this event was excellent - people reported that it had changed their perspectives 
URL http://www.designforlife.website/
 
Title Embracing Innovation Volume 5, Craft ACT: Canberra Craft and Design Centre 
Description Embracing Innovation Volume 5, Craft ACT: Canberra Craft and Design Centre, Canberra Australia, 23 July - 29 August 2015, I was invited to contribute two propositional/experimental design objects to this prestiguous exhibition. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact This invitation enabled me to exhibit my design work for the first time in Australia's capital city. The exposure this enabled, subsequently led to further invitations - in 2016 - to deliver a Keynote talk at Australia National University and to open a design exhibition in Canberra. 
URL https://craftact.org.au/
 
Title Unmaking Waste Exhibition, SASA Gallery, University of South Australia 
Description Unmaking Waste Exhibition, SASA Gallery, University of South Australia, Adelaide May 5 - 29, 2015 8 designs plus 12 photographs of design work. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact This was the first time I had been invited to exhibit my work in Australia so it introduced by design work to a new audience. It accompanied an invitation to provide a keynote speech at the UNMAKING WASTE conference in University of South Australia, Adelaide. 
URL http://aad.unisa.edu.au/research/research-areas/sasa-gallery/
 
Description Key findings related to this project are still in the process of emerging; the work is continuing. However, to date we have complete a significant amount of the field research and the analysis is beginning to reveal important findings that we are able to relate to, and build on, from our previous research. In particular, we are discerning a gap in the research related to craft and small maker enterprises that occurs between, on the one hand, traditional or heritage crafts and, on the other hand, high end crafts (objets d'art). In addition, within this area or 'gap', important findings are emerging about a) the kinds of support and skills development needed to better facilitate small maker enterprises; b) business models that are a combination of traditional hand processes (small production volumes, high prices) and mechanized production processes (higher volumes, lower prices). In addition, the research is revealing that there are often long-standing relationships between hand-based production and/or mechanized production and place -- these relationships can have important implications in terms of historical significance, heritage, community, identity and sustainability . As the project continues, these relationships, and their connections to the principles of sustainability (e.g. environmental stewardship, social issues such as community and identity, and personal issues such as fulfilling work) will be further researched.
Exploitation Route We are articulating our findings about business models, relationship to place, community, materials, and heritage, as well as creative developments around story-making, branding, etc. that will be of interest to policy makers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and maker enterprises. We anticipate working with the key policy makers in the region to create a place-based publication that articulates the specific place-specific (Cumbria) values to visitors, local residents, local maker maker enterprises, retailers and suppliers in order to increase the 'value-added' aspects of practices that are place-based, and signiticant in terms of provenance, heritage and community identity as well as being environmental responsible.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail

URL https://www.livingdesignresearch.org/
 
Description Through our engagement with local makers and enterprises, we have increased understanding amongst the maker community in terms of the value, heritage and potential of their contributions. In addition, we have found a lack of connection between individuals and maker enterprises and are developing directions that can contirbute to the maker community through the use of digital technologies to create collective benefits. In the run up to the start of the project, an exhibition and symposium of work (Design for Life, 2016, Brantwood, Cumbria) engaged with local citizens and creatives to raise awareness of the issues, to initiate the conversation, and hear of local issues and concerns. We have also published our findings in a variety of books including Design for Life (Walker, 2017) and Design Roots (Walker, Evans et al, 2018). An earlier book by Walker, that formed the foundational thinking to much of this work, has been named by the top design schools in the US as among the 35 books to be read by designers. In addition, PI Walker's philosophy and propositional design work that are key components of this project was the subject of a PhD in Brazil (completed in 2018) - STUART WALKER: A FUNÇÃO ESTÉTICA SUSTENTÁVEL MEDIAÇÕES ENTRE ARTE, DESIGN E ESPIRITUALIDADE by Lucas Farinelli Pantaleão, UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL PAULISTA, FACULDADE ARQUITETURA, ARTES E COMUNICAÇÃO, PROGRAMA DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM DESIGN.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Conference Panel Coordination 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel Coordinator for 2 Panel Sessions and Paper Presenter at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Science (IUAES) Inter-Congress - 2-7 May 2017, Ottawa, Canada. Note this was a joint initiative between the academic team in the UK (at Lancaster University and Manchester Metrolopolitan University) and our colleagues at the China Academy of Social Sciences. The Panel activities reaches a select audience of practitioners, academics and postgraduates. The papers centred around our knowledge exchange findings from our visits to China, and much discussion and various questions arose. This was wonderful opporunity, entirely enabled by the AHRC/Newton award to a) coordinate and set up a conference panel and run two conference sessions in collaboration with our colleagues from China b) attend and learn from a conference in Anthropological and Ethnological Science -- which normally we would not attend because this is not our discipline and c) present a design-based perspective (by UK team) along with an anthropological perspective (by China team) based essentially on the same experiences. These two perspectives enabled new realizations and insights, which formed the basis of considerable discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference Paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Paper Presentation: Intangible cultural heritage, design ecologies and creative industry -- presented in my roles as Panel Coordinator at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Science (IUAES) Inter-Congress - 2-7 May 2017, Ottawa, Canada. Paper presented in Sessions 2&3 02 May, 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description EXHIBITION OPENING SPEECH - Canberra: Object Therapy Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote: Object Therapy Exhibition Opening Speech, Hotel-Hotel, Canberra, Australia, 14 Oct 2016

I was asked to deliver the opening speech to a large audience attending the opening of a new exhibition of design work that centred around ideas of design for sustainability, product repair and meaning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.hotel-hotel.com.au/fixandmake/events/object-therapy/
 
Description Invited Talk - Loughborough University: Imagination's Promise 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk: Imagination's Promise: practice-based design research, Waste-D Research Forum, School of the Arts, English and Drama, Loughborough University, UK, 26 February 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description KEYNOTE - 31st World Cultural Council Award Ceremony & Aalto University Academic Summit, Finland: Creativity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote: Creativity - the imperative of solitude, 31st World Cultural Council Award Ceremony & Aalto University Academic Summit, November 18, 2014, Helsinki, Finland. An international audience of scientists, medical researchers, business people and academics, ca. 100 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://wcc.aalto.fi/en/
 
Description KEYNOTE - 3rd International EurOMA Sustainable Operations & Supply Chains Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Keynote Address outside the design field - to practitioners in Management related are:
Design for Life - creating meaning in a distracted world, The Local Versus Global Sustainability Debate, 3rd International EurOMA Sustainable Operations and Supply Chains Forum, Lancaster University Management School, 11 - 12 April 2016, Lancaster, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums/euromaforum/
 
Description KEYNOTE - Anadolu University, Turkey: Practice-based Design Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Practice-based Design Research for Sustainability, Faculty of Design, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, 21 April 2016. An audience of ca. 100 academics and students.

Although many were already familiar with my work, this was the first time students and staff at Anadolou University were able to hear me talk about my work and answer questions. I received many questions and discussion point from staff and students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.anadolu.edu.tr/en/academics/faculties/192/faculty-of-fine-arts/general-info
 
Description KEYNOTE - Australia National University: Design for Life 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Design for Life: creating meaning in a distracted world, Australia National University, Australia, 12 Oct 2016.

This talk generated much discussion amoung faculty and students and I was informed that it was the best talk they had received at their Design Forum talks series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://soa.anu.edu.au/design
 
Description KEYNOTE - Brantwood House, UK: Beyond the Superficial 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote: Beyond the Superficial: Ruskin, Sustainability and Contemporary Design, Design for Life Exhibition Public Forum, Brantwood Museum: The Home of John Ruskin, Coniston, Cumbria, UK, 14 May 2016. An audience of ca. 40 members of the general public, academics and students.

This talk was one of the engagement events that accompanied the DESIGN FOR LIFE exhibition at Brantwood.
At this event, food was served that had been designed by children at the local school after visiting and based on what they had seen at the DESIGN FOR LIFE Exhibition. The food was prepared by the Brantwood Chef.
The talk generated much discussion and a lively debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.designforlife.website/
 
Description KEYNOTE - Iowa State University: Progressive Design Praxis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The College of Design at Iowa State University invited me to their campus to deliver a keynote address to staff and students, run a workshop and provide input and advice about developing their postgraduate design for sustainability education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description KEYNOTE - MAKLab, Glasgow: Design Shift 2.0 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote: Design Shift 2.0, MAKLab, Glasgow, 6pm August 28, 2015. An invited address to designers, entrepreneurs, academics and students, ca. 50 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/event/17483/
 
Description KEYNOTE - Middle East Technical University, Ankara: Imagination's Promise 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Imagination's Promise: practice-based design research, Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 24 March 2015. An audience of academics and students, ca. 150 people from METU and Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description KEYNOTE - RMIT, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Design for Sustainability 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk: Design for Sustainability, RMIT, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 26 May 2015. An audience of academics and students, ca. 60 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description KEYNOTE - Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan: Design for Sustainability 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Design for Sustainability, Technical University of the Arts, Tokyo, Japan 26 Oct 2016

This talk to staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students introduced my research to a new audience. Approximately 80 attendees. The talk generated many questions from the audience and a lively discussion about how my approach - which prioritizes human values - offers an original insight into the nature of design for sustainability.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.geidai.ac.jp/english/
 
Description KEYNOTE - University of New South Wales: Designing Sustainability 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Designing Sustainability, University of New South Wales, Australia, 5 Oct 2016

This talk was to academic staff at the university. It introduced them for the first time to the relationship between propositional design practice and theory development related to sustainability, values the the Quadruple Bottom Line of Design for Sustainability.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/future-students/undergraduate-degrees/design
 
Description KEYNOTE - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Unmaking Waste Conference Keynote 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote: Design Shift: the narrow path to holistic design, Unmaking Waste Conference, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, May 21-23, 2015. An audience of designers, academics and students, ca. 150 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://unmakingwaste2015.org/stuart-walker-umw2015-keynote-speaker/
 
Description KEYNOTE - University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: : Design Shift 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk: Design Shift: the narrow path to holistic design, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 29 May 2015. An audience of academics and students, ca. 100 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description KEYNOTE - Wollongong Uni., Australia: Design Practice for Sustainability 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Talk: Design Practice for Sustainability, University of Wollongong, Australia, 6 Sept. 2016

This talk introduced new ideas about design and sustainability to audience members and a large number of questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://lha.uow.edu.au/taem/index.html
 
Description KEYNOTE - Wollongong University, NSW, Australia: Practice-based Design for Sustainability 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk: Practice-based Design for Sustainability, Wollongong University, NSW, Australia, 11-15 May 2015. An audience of academics and students, ca. 50 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description KEYNOTE: 4th World Conference on Design and Arts, Russia - Radical Change for Sustainable Futures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote: Radical Change for Sustainable Futures: a practice-based design research approach, 4th World Conference on Design and Arts, The St. Petersburg Christian University, St. Petersburg, Russia, 26-28 June, 2015. An international audience of academics, >100 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.worldeducationcenter.eu/new/index.php/DAE/WCDA2015
 
Description KEYNOTE: Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne: Words and Object 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote: Words and Objects: A perspective on the Future Role of Museums, Designing Futures Debates, Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 3 November 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2015
 
Description Walker, S. (2015) Essence of Place: MA Masters Class, Middle East Technical University, Ankara (Turkey) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Essence of Place: MA Masters Class, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey - an Erasmus Funded Visit, March, 2015. Introduced prelilminary ideas about understanding the creative activities related to a particular location, which subsequently informed the development of of CREATIVE ECOLOGIES diagnostic research tools.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Walker, S. , Collett, A. and Jung, J. (2016) Ecologies of Practice Symposium, University of Wollongong (Australia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Walker, S. , Collett, A. and Jung, J. (2016) Ecologies of Practice Symposium, University of Wollongong, Australia, 21 Oct 2016 - with academic and non-academic speakers and workshop using our unique diagnostic creative ecologies research to assess the design needs of the Illawara to enhance the creative industries.

This workshop introduced to a new audience - and informed participants - our newly developed CREATIVE ECOLOGIES diagnostic research tools. It enabled us to test these tools in a particular location with a highly active and well-informed audience. The benefit we found was that by engaging in the process, the participants revealed to themselves (for the first time) the richness and variety of creative activities that were occurring in their locale.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://designroutes.org/
 
Description Walker, S., Evans, M, and Jung, J. (2016) Design Ecologies Workshop, Design Research Society Conference 2016 (Brighton) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Walker, S., Evans, M, and Jung, J. (2016) Design Ecologies Workshop, Design Research Society Conference 2016, Faculty of Design, University of Brighton, 27 June 2016.

This workshop introduced to a new audience - and informed participants - our newly developed CREATIVE ECOLOGIES diagnostic research tools. It enabled us to test and develop these tools further.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/research/design-art-history/events2/drs2016