Design after Progress: Reimagining Design Histories and Futures

Design’s ties to industrialization and progress has made possible increased material well-being for many humans while simultaneously contributing to waste, environmental degradation, and changed biodiversity. The aim is to craft concrete imaginaries of a more socio-ecological just design after progress and influence design educations.

Design after Progress: reimagining design histories and futures is a research environment that seeks to carefully untie design’s entanglement with progress and to craft concrete imaginaries of a more socio-ecologically just design after progress. The research environment consists of researchers from four different Swedish design departments.

The aim of the research environment is to explore how to:

  • learn to become better haunted in design by attending to the ecologies of damage left behind by progress and industrialisation.
  • develop and articulate skills, competencies, capabilities, and concepts necessary for designing after progress.

Three experimental rehearsal studios

The research environment works in a participatory and democratic way in three different experimental rehearsal studios with the purpose of influencing future designers:

  1. Present-ing Alternative Design Histories by historicising participation and design.
  2. Prefiguring Design Practices after Progress with design experiments.
  3. Unlearning Pedagogies for Design after Progress with opportunities for international designers and design researchers to learn to make the world differently.

The work is funded from 2023 to 2029 by The Swedish Research Council, grant number 2022-02319.


Thomas Laurien, HDK-Valand, Gothenburg University
Li Jönsson, School of Arts and Communicaiton, Malmö University
Kristina Lindström, School of Arts and Communicaiton, Malmö University
Maria Göransdotter, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University
Åsa Ståhl, Department of Design, Linnaeus University