Stan Ruecker, Anthony J. Petullo Professor of Design, University of Illinois, USA.

Pablo Hermansen, Dr., School of Design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile.

Martín Tironi, Dr. School of Design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile.

Although modernist principles (e.g. form, colour, composition, ergonomics, structural analysis, etc.) are still in widespread use in design pedagogy, they have not for some time now represented the only option. One alternative is the ‘anthropological turn’, often referred to as ‘human-centered design’, where the defining concept is that the designer is not an adequate surrogate for the user. This anthropocentric epistemology has arguably become the common, uncontested and politically correct place from which to teach and practice design. Nonetheless, as every frame of action that is taken for granted hides political and epistemological standpoints, the concept of human-centered design silently influences not just the process, but also the kinds of questions we tend to ask when practicing and teaching.

This track aims to precipitate a space for critically reviewing and contesting naturalized epistemological and methodological frameworks (e.g. user-centered design, problem-solving design). We want to dedicate special attention to the anthropocentric biases that encourage us to ignore the urgent ecological demands expressed by other-than-human beings in times of environmental crisis. Furthermore, we are also interested in the question of how critical action becomes an appropriate matter of design. Prototyping with other-than-human beings as a learning exercise, along with favouring a performative critique of anthropocentric politics, provide analytical keys to make the conceptualization of our modes of existence a matter of design, and in turn, to recognize design as a critical space to materialize unexpected and more-than-human ecologies. With this double challenge, we want to encourage participants to share experiences and reflections on design learning, where other-than-human actors significantly impact the affective and operative framework that a design classroom project produces. This track would like to explore, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Prototyping
  • Speculative research
  • Cosmopolitical design
  • Experimentation in design education
  • Interspecies explorations
  • More-than-human correspondence
  • Design facing the Anthropocene
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Design anthropology
  • Situated knowledge
  • Performativity


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Hermansen, P., and Tironi, M. (2018). Pedagogical impugnation: Interspecies prototyping and cosmopolitical encounters. Diseña, (12), 196-227. DOI: 10.7764/disena.12.196-227.

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