In the panel Future Scenarios for Crisis Resilience, we will discuss discursive and speculative design approaches, with a focus on audience engagement in design research and citizen participation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Three different methods and approaches range from proposals which act as design for debate to placing existent needs in the center of design research and contestatory proposals from the public which illustrate design theories.
Since all projects include participatory processes as a research strategy, we would like to open up our panel to the conference audience and the public in order to collectively discuss this strategy in the design research process. In this process, we will approach speculative design & co-creation from various angles, testing different functions of design in society: as translation, as provocation, as communication and as a shared resource.
Many new design approaches that can nowadays be summarised under the term of discursive and speculative design practices arose from Critical Design in the past decades. They form a proper design discipline that is uncoupled from commercial demands and makes use of design practices to create tangible imaginaries of probable futures for stimulating public debates. Thus, these approaches find increasing application in technological agenda-settings. Furthermore, they offer an unexplored potential for science communication and public engagement in science. But this potential is accompanied by questions on the ethical responsibility of the designer and the efficiency of the debate: How can speculative imaginaries of the future be more credible and prevent misleading debates? Against this background, this paper presents a newly developed method “From fact to Artifact” aiming to identify a schematic process to develop fact-based scenarios.
This research is born in response to the Covid-19 pandemic breakout worldwide and aims at shaping new domestic scenarios, which could better answer to the emerging needs at home. This research has followed a designerly way to build understanding and knowledge on unexpected emergency through integrating both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data, moreover, a strategic design method, scenario building, has been carried out to transfer these initial themes/topics into 7 visionary scenarios, which could involve different actors, designers, experts, companies and also the public, in diving their opinions and taking actions to implement certain ideas and possible solutions to the ground. This research eventually provides an initial strategy and methodology for studies that aim at exploring visionary directions and proposals on social issues relevant to everyone and the common good.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic constituted a wicked problem requiring the joint collaborative effort of governments, industries, academia and civil society. Concepts pushing design practice towards design for the common good became accelerated by the crisis. In early 2020, the paper’s authors participated in an online hackathon destined to respond to the pandemic. Since digital formats quickly revealed creative limitations, they launched the on-going research project Speculative Citizen Design exploring offline design proposals developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The project aims to collect and evaluate these propositions, as a real-time archive documenting the transitional period. Ranging from projects building on or preserving existing systems to more speculative and contestatory approaches, this paper applies design theories to grassroots proposals and reflects a development to design as a common good moving away from authorial design. Non-commercial projects are especially valuable as contributions, becoming a tool for social innovation.