SEK 16.8 million to unique investment in artistic research

The Swedish Research Council gives SEK 16.8 million divided over six years to the new research environment Design after progress: reimagining design histories and futures. The research environment is a collaboration between design researchers at several higher education institutions and its focus is artistic research. Project manager is Åsa Ståhl, senior lecturer in design at Linnaeus University.

Design is, and has also historically been, closely interconnected with industrialisation and progress. In this way, design has contributed to an increased material standard for many people. But it has also led to overproduction, waste, and environmental degradation.

Long-term just design

The new research environment wants to challenge this view of design. The idea is to study alternative imaginaries of design, a design after progress. Through historical research, design experiments, and pedagogical situations, the researchers will investigate the possibility to create new imaginaries of a more long-term and just design that is socially and ecologically sustainable.

One goal with the research is to contribute with new knowledge on how design can shoulder the industrial heritage in a better way, by attending to damaged life environments. It is also about developing the skills and competences needed to be able to design in the aftermath of progress, in an inclusive and democratic way. For instance, in order to influence design educators.

“Since design affects the wellbeing of both humans and other species, it is important to explore alternatives and broaden the repertoire of design. By doing this, we can turn design away from the harmful effects. In this way, the research environment wants to contribute to a greater socioecological justice”, says Åsa Ståhl, project manager.

Three experimental design studios

The research environment will consist of three experimental design studios that build on each other. One studio will examine and present alternative design histories, another will test and explore new design practices, and a final one will focus on learning that stages future design schools.

The Swedish Research Council has granted funding of the research environment for the period 2022–2027. The group consists of five design researchers from Linnaeus University, Umeå University, Malmö University, and University of Gothenburg. In addition to announcing positions at Linnaeus University, there will also be international collaborations.

The Swedish Research Council granted funds for two research environments within artistic research, one of which is this research environment at Linnaeus University.