Special Issue: CoDesign: Intl Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts (28 Jan 2011)

Special Issue: SOCIALLY RESPONSIVE DESIGN: Understanding the differences between service design, social design and social innovation and identifying tools and methods for designing and evaluating social change.
Deadline for submission: 28 January 2011
Website: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/ncdn

Guest Editors

Lorraine Gamman, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design l.gamman@csm.arts.ac.uk
Adam Thorpe, Socially Responsive Design Hub, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design vexed.adam@gmail.com


Academic and design practitioners are invited to submit papers on a range of topics that might include, but not be limited to:

  • Interrogation of the differences between social innovation, social design, social enterprise and service design and how the activities these terms describe interrelate in practice.
  • Review of the methodologies of service design, social design and social innovation delivered by design led individuals and organizations, to understand their similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Review of the account of social responsibility through design linked to up to date case studies and any forms of evidence or evaluation of their impact.
  • Accounts from other disciplines or socially led organisations, relating to how social change is measured and how these metrologies contribute to evaluation of social impact.

The aim of this Special Issue of CoDesign is to interrogate “Design which takes as its primary driver social issues, its main consideration social impact and its main objective social change” (Gamman & Thorpe, 2006)[1].

The concept of social responsibility, the notion that an individual, group of individuals or organisations has responsibility to society, may be topical but has been around as long as humanity. The benefit of such responsibility to society was described by Darwin, who argued that: “Although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe…an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another (and therefore those within it)”[2].

Darwin is talking in terms of competition rather than altruism or empathy, his argument is nevertheless clear; those societies made up of individuals that accept inclusive, collective goals and responsibilities are more likely to be prosperous and self-sustaining than those that don’t.

A century later the idea that design has a responsibility to society and environment was crucially defined by Papanek, who argued alongside contemporaries, such as Buckminster Fuller and EF Schumacher, that: “Design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and, by extension, society and himself)”. [3]

Given the enormous impact of design, Papanek addressed the conscience of the designer and argued that they should seek to make a positive contribution to society and the environment by focusing on six core themes:

  • Design for the third world
  • Design for the elderly and disabled (design for minorities)
  • Design for medicine, surgery, dentistry and hospital equipment (health)
  • Design for experimental research
  • Design for sustaining human life under marginal conditions, survival systems/hostile environments
  • Design for breakthrough concepts

Papanek also argued that other kinds of design consumed resources in pursuit of financial profit and had a negative impact on both society and environment. Consequently those designers who engaged with the market should contribute either 1/10 of their time or 1/10 of their income to socially responsible projects while continuing with their jobs.

More recent notions of responsible design are less dismissive of the market and economic imperatives. Morelli argues; “The time has come to review Papanek… from a new perspective, which reduces the distance between market-based and socially oriented initiatives”.[4]

The addition of economics to the social and environmental imperatives of Papanek provides ‘a triple bottom line’ for considering design innovation that contributes to sustainability.

Building social and environmental resilience and sustainability is of paramount concern to government, and public and third sector agencies, facing the challenge of delivering public services more efficiently and effectively with less resource. Since the millennium the challenge of delivering more for less has preoccupied several design organisations that have sought to apply collaborative, human and user-centric design methodologies to service design, social design and social innovation delivering products, services and environments that contribute to efficiencies in meeting societal challenges including health, crime, ageing population, energy use and climate change.

These societal challenges constitute ‘wicked’ and ‘complex’ design problems that require us to address multiple and combined stakeholders, agendas and contexts.

Complex problems require an ordered approach; involve multiple stakeholders, multiple agendas and multiple contexts. This special issue of CoDesign seeks to articulate and review the methodologies that underpin this approach and assess their value.

Deadline for submission: 28 January 2011

Proposed timetable to publication thereafter:
Post-review notification of decisions: 30 April 2011
Deadline for submission of revised papers: 30 June 2011
Final selected papers to production: 9 September 2011
Publication of Special Issue: December 2011

Instructions for Authors

Manuscripts should be prepared according to guidelines which can be found here.

All submissions should be made online at the CoDesign Manuscript Central site.

New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged on to the site, submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Online user guides and access to a helpdesk are available on this website.

Manuscripts may be submitted in any standard format, including Word, PostScript and PDF. Authors should prepare and upload two versions of their manuscript. One should be a complete text, while in the second all document information identifying the author should be removed from files to allow them to be sent anonymously to referees. When uploading files authors should define the non-anonymous version as “File not for review”.

All published articles will undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial guest editors screening and anonymous refereeing by independent expert referees.

Potential authors should contact Professor Lorraine Gamman (l.gamman@csm.arts.ac.uk) with any questions about the Special Issue.

For further Information about CoDesign go to: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/ncdn.

[1] Gamman, L. and Thorpe, A. (2006) Design Against Crime As Socially Responsive Theory and Practice in Marjanovic, D. (Ed.) Proceedings of the DESIGN 2006, 9th International Design Conference, Volume 1 (ISBN: 953-6313-80-4) pages 721-732. University of Zagreb and The Design Society, Glasgow.

[2] Darwin (1871) The Descent of Man. D. Appleton and Co, New York.

[3] Papanek, V. (2000, original edition 1971) Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. Thames and Hudson, London.

[4] Morelli, N. (2007) Social Innovation And Industrial Contexts. In Design Issues 23: 4.


About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil.

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