Intl Conf of the Design Research Society – DRS 2014 – Design’s Big Debates (June 2014, Umeå, Sweden)

Dates: 16-19 June 2014
Location: Umeå, Sweden
Deadline for submissions: UPDATED^2 8 November 2013   

The Design Research Society’s 2014 conference invites you to engage in discussions and debates on the future directions of design and design research. We welcome you to join us in Umeå, Sweden, 16-19 June 2014.

We believe there is a shared discourse in design, one that includes all areas of design research, and that is of vital importance for our understanding and development of the foundations of design. This discourse is something we share and cultivate over long periods of time, as it tells stories of past, present and future trajectories of design and its role in society.

With an ever-increasing demand for academic specialization and increasing numbers of highly specialized conferences, there is a bigger need than ever for a venue where the design research community can address significant challenges that cut across domains and big issues that will influence the way our field, as a whole, develops.

The main purpose of the DRS 2014 conference is to foster and support a shared design discourse. By focusing on key big issues in design, we want to create a forum where the questions that have the potential to change the way we think and do design – its philosophy, theory, practise, methodology, education, profession and history – will be discussed and debated.

To create this platform for discussions and debates we want to open up a wider set of possibilities for engaging and participating. Thus, the DRS 2014 conference will make use of multiple publication and presentation formats, including both established ones such as ‘papers’ and new ones such as ‘conversations’, each with its own submission and review process as set out below.

Now is the time to begin asking yourself: ‘What do you think are the big debates in design?’ What would you like this exciting conversation to be like to really matter to you – and how will you contribute to make that happen?’

DRS 2014 is hosted by Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, Sweden. The conference week will give you an opportunity to experience the nightless nights and sunny days of the Swedish Midsummer, and the many cultural events of Umeå, Cultural Capital of Europe 2014.


Johan Redström, Erik Stolterman and Anna Valtonen (General Chairs),
Carl DiSalvo and Jamer Hunt (Conversations and Debates Chairs)
Youn-kyung Lim and Kristina Niedderer (Papers Chairs)


More information: DRS 2014:
Design Research Society:
Umeå Institute of Design:
Umeå 2014:

Call for Papers

The DRS conferences invite paper submissions from any area of design research. Additionally, papers are invited for special strands which link into and highlight the conference theme of ‘The Big Debates’ as well as the DRS Special Interest Groups.

‘The Big Debates’:

– Less is More: Design for sustainability and climate change – ecological economic and social implications
– Activism and behaviour change through design
– Affect and effect: the influence and impact of design interventions
– Innovation & creativity: talent versus activist and community design
– New Material: genetic material and immateriality as new design opportunities
– Design ethics: new challenges in the light of changing social and material values
– Intellectual Property Rights: a thing of the past? – Interrogating social initiatives, collective knowledge or IP of the big corporations

The DRS Special Interest Group themes:

• Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge (EKSIG)
• Special Interest Group for Objects, Practices, Experiences, Networks (OPENSIG)
• Design Pedagogy Special Interest Group (PedSIG)
• Special Interest Group on Wellbeing and Happiness (SIGWELL)
• Inclusive Design Special Interest Group (Inclusive SIG)


We invite papers which offer new or challenging research or views in design in the widest sense.  Papers should be 3000-5000 words long, not counting the abstract, front matter and references, and should adhere to the conference paper submission guidelines, which you can find on the conference website. Submissions must be in English language. Papers must be submitted by 1 October 2013 through the online submission system, which will be open from August 2013.

Please note that unlike previous DRS conferences, the review for DRS2014 is by full papers only.

Timetable for submissions of papers:

Submission System opens: 15 August 2013
Deadline for full papers: 1 October 2013
Notification of accepted Papers:  13 December 2013
Deadline for full paper corrections:  31 January 2014
Final acceptance of the revised papers: 15 February 2014
Conference Opens: 16 June 2014

Submission guidelines and paper submission system:

Peer Review:

This is a general design research conference and it is expected that a wide variety of work and projects will be reported. Irrespective of the range and stage of your research, the organisers expect the highest standards of scholarship in terms of establishing context, explicating the methods of inquiry, and reporting results that may aid other researchers or practitioners. Papers will therefore be selected subject to double blind review by our international review panel. The criteria for selection are:

• Relevance to the conference
• Originality of the research put forward
• Quality and rigour of research
• Clarity of presentation

Conference Presentation and Proceedings:

Authors of accepted papers are expected to attend and present their paper at the conference. All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings which will be published in digital format.

Call for Conversations & Debates

The 2014 Design Research Society Conference is accepting submissions for workshops, structured discussions, and experimental session formats that advance conversation around emergent forms of design research. These sessions have been conceived as alternatives to the traditional paper/presentation format, and the ambition of this new format is to provide innovative venues for project-based research and work that is not easily captured or conveyed by the scholarly paper. We expect that any Conversation will consist of 3-5 catalysts who will present work or structure the experience to facilitate dialogue and discussion. All sessions will last between 1-2 hours in length.

All Proposals should identify the following elements of the session in a one page Conversation Proposal:

1.     A list of key catalysts and their job titles for this session, their roles, and whether they have agreed to participate
2.     A title and short description (1-2 paragraphs) of the thematic topic that you will address in this session
3.     The framing of an organizing research question that you are posing through this session
4.     A description of your plan to incorporate the contributions of others in the format of the Conversation

Submission format and review process:

Unlike the traditional papers at a DRS conference, these Conversation Proposals will not be double-blind peer reviewed. Instead, a subcommittee of the DRS organizing body will review these proposals to ensure that they meet the criteria outlined (above). Reviewers will also be looking at originality of topic and format, as well as feasibility for a successful outcome. Priority will be given to those proposals that already have agreements from all catalysts that they will attend the conference and participate in the Conversation. We are particularly interested in proposals that bring together diverse perspectives on the issues and opportunities of design research, that are experiential in nature, and that will productively challenge our assumptions of what the topics and forms design research are or could be.


Any queries about the conference should be directed to: Petra Käck:

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: