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Dr Delfina Fantini van Ditmar is a biologist, design researcher and Senior Lecturer. Her practice is concerned with ecological thinking, reflective practices, epistemological paradigms and alternative futures.

Delfina has a BA Biology and completed a year of an MFA at Konstfack University in Stockholm. She holds a PhD from the RCA with a thesis entitled 'The IdIoT'.

In 2021 she was selected as one of the Future Observatory Design Researcher in Residency (DriR) at the Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Driven by her interest in ecological thinking, reflective practices and inter-relations as a systemic response to the environmental collapse, Delfina's critical practice examines material ethics of care and the necessary paradigm shift in design.

In her teaching practice, Delfina encourages students to reflect on epistemological paradigms, envision alternative futures, think systemically and critically analyse the broader implications of their decisions.

Delfina participates in the School of Design transdisciplinary module The Grand Challenge. Previously Delfina worked as a tutor at the Design Products + Futures programme and has been a Visiting Lecturer on the Information Experience Design (IED) programme, MRes RCA Communication Design, MRes RCA Healthcare Design, and the MRes RCA Design pathway.

Delfina has been a crit and Visiting Lecturer in several institutions, including The Bartlett, Architectural Association, Manchester School of Art, University of Brighton, University for the Creative Arts, Liverpool University, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), Syracuse University, Rice University, Critical Media Lab Basel and TU Berlin, among others.

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Delfina has a transdisciplinary background linking design research, ecological thinking, critical algorithmic studies, architecture and the sociology of technology. By problematising the simplification of prevalent ecological problem-framing, acknowledging inter-relationships and reconsidering epistemological frameworks, Delfina's research looks at material ethics of care and regenerative practices.

Delfina’s practice encourages a critical and reflective approach toward ecological futures and technological 'smartness'. During her career, Delfina has participated in a series of international conferences and events.

In the dispiriting context of the current energy crisis, ongoing war, increasing pollution and environmental damage, Delfina Fantini van Ditmar’s recent exhibition at the Design Museum 'A NOT TOO COMFORTABLE FUTURE' considers what we might need to design – and how we might need to change – to restore our everyday lives.

Design Researcher in Residency (DRiR). Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Doctoral Fellowship. CONICYT. Advanced Human Capital Development Program.

Heinz von Foerster Award (2011)

Design Researcher in Residency: RESTORE.


The Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Through Design Research in the context of the climate crisis, the Future Observatory Design Researcher in Residency programme explored how can design respond to pressing societal and environmental issues. In its foundation year, Future Observatory focused on the Net Zero agenda.

Selected academic presentations

2022. DESIS Philosophy Talk #7.7: The Politics of Nature: More than human futures: new epistemological frameworks for designing in times of crisis. Politecnico di Milano, IT

2022. Keynote

Imagining and Designing in Dark Times. A conversation with Virginia Tassinari. INDEX Media Biennale. Universidade do Minho. Braga, PT

2022. Workshop

Designing for care: a multi-species perspective. INDEX Media Biennale. In collaboration with Filipe Pais. Gnrator Art Centre. Braga, PT

2022. Conference chair

Design Research Society (DRS) conference. Track: Design Dematerialisation: opportunities through reduction. Bilbao, ES

2021. Colloquium/ Paper presentation. 5G Infrastructures. Sustainable Welfare Conference. Finnish Society for Environmental Social Sciences (YHYS). Helsinki, FL.

2021. Conference / Paper presentation. Notes for Tomorrow. ATTENDING [TO] FUTURES Conference. Köln, DE.

2021. Conference / Paper presentation. 5G Aesthetics: Hidden in Plain Sight. The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). Annual Conference: Good Relations Practices and Methods in Unequal and Uncertain Worlds. Montreal, CA.

2021. Symposium / presentation. Future Heritage of Smart Cities. Media Architecture Biennale. NL.

2021. DESIS Philosophy Talk #7.3: The Politics of Nature: Designing Scenarios of Multi-species Collaborative Survivals. A conversation with Virginia Tassinari, Alder Keleman Saxena, Laura Forlano, Daniela Rosner and Gabrielle Benabdallah. Politecnico di Milano, IT.

2021. 5G: The Advent of Concealing. In collaboration with Ignacio Gatica Rojas. La Nuit des Idées at Reprise de Vues. A debate staged at the Musée des Arts et Métiers which include the visit of the exhibition - “Matière d ́images” of the Hors Pistes Festival, at the Centre Pompidou. Paris, FR.

2021. Conference / Paper presentation. Aesthetics of the 5G City: Conceal, Converge, Connect. Philosophy of the City Conference University of Twente, NL.

2021. Design and the Complexities of an Ecological Future. Unit X Inspirer Series. Manchester School of Art. Manchester, UK.

2020. IN SESSION: Design Curricula for Climate Crisis. A conversation with Dr. Harriet Harris. Pratt School of Architecture + Royal College of Art.

2020. Keynote Panellist: Design and digital platforms. Ministry of Art, Culture and Heritage, Chile.

2020. Seminar' Design Matter'. Post-graduate seminar hosted by Alex Wilkie. Goldsmiths University. London, UK.

2019. International Colloquium. Portraying ‘SMARTNESS’. The limits to growth of the smart city: spaces and energies of digital infrastructures. École d’architecture de la ville et des territoires à Marne-la-Vallée. Paris, FR.

2019. Does Design Care? Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRA) international workshop. Chiba University. Chiba, JP.

2019. Behavioural Matter. ‘La Fabrique du vivant’ public engagement program. Centre Pompidou. Paris, FR.

2019. Next Generation Internet European Commission programme Nesta. London, UK

2018. Symposium. Situating 'SMARTNESS'. PACTMAN. EPSRC-funded project on Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security in the Digital Economy. TIPS by Design – Building a Community of UK TIPS Researchers. Dovecot Studios. Edinburgh, SC.

2018. Conference / Paper presentation. The Diary of a 'SMART' Home. Digital Cultures Knowledge / Culture / Technology International Conference. Leuphana University. Lüneburg, DE.

2018. Conference / Paper presentation. The IdIoT in the 'SMART' Home. 15th Architectural Humanities Research Association International Conference. Smartness? between discourse and practice. TU Eindhoven. Eindhoven, NL.

2018. Workshop / Paper presentation. The Algorithmic Paradigm. 11th International Paris Workshop of the Design Theory SIG of the Design Society. MINES ParisTech. Paris, FR.

2017. Colloquium. The IdIoT. Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures /Critical Media Lab. Academy of Art and Design FHNW. Basel, CH.

2015. Conference / Paper presentation. The Open Home and Internet of Things: Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? Senses and Spaces II international conference. Harvard University. Cambridge MA, USA.

2015. Conference / Workshop / Organiser. The Performance of Nonhuman Behaviour. Nordes Design Ecologies. Konstfack University. Stockholm, SE.

2015. Panel Discussion. Open Home: Das Internet der Dinge. Depot. Vienna, AT.

2015. Conference / Paper presentation. The Internet of Dwelling.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und Forschung (DGTF). 12th Annual Conference of the German Society of Design Theory and Research: Reassembling Relationships: People, Systems, Things. Fachhochschule Potsdam. Potsdam, DE.

2014. Conference / Paper presentation. Everyday Internet: A Journey to the Politics of the Internet's Physical Processes. London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT). Goldsmiths University. London, UK.

2014. Symposium / Paper presentation Observers in `Smart ́ Cities. Imaginaries of the Future: Historicising the Present. Inaugural symposium of the Leverhulme International Research Network. Montreal, CA.

2014. Conference / Paper presentation. A Reflection on Dispersed Agency.

Internet of Things Philosophy Conference. York University. York, UK.


Delfina's publications range from a chapter in the book Ghost Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, an article for the journal ACM Interactions, a chapter in Springer, and an interview for the book A Better Place, a Next Generation Internet initiative funded by the European Commission and launched at European Parliament.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2022) A Not Too Comfortable Future. RESTORE catalogue. Design Museum.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2021) Int ‘smart’:: cities (void) {If (equality ) { // ?. Equality in the City: Imaginaries of the Smart Future. Mediated Cities Series with Intellect, UK. Series editor Graham Cairns.

Fantini van Ditmar D, van Kranenburg R, Anania L, Le Gars G, Arniani M, Kaili M and Kavassalis P. (2020) Future Urban Smartness: Connectivity Zones with Disposable Identities. Springer.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2020). #103 A SMART Theory of Design[ing] and #104 A 1.5°C Theory of Design[ing]. 118 Theories of Design(ing). Ed. Paul Rodgers; Craig Bremner. Vernon Press.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2020). The IdIoT in the SMART Home. Architecture and the Smart City. Critiques Series. New York: Routledge.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2019). "A Better Place: Towards a Collective Intelligence for Europe". A project funded by the European Commission.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2019). A Circular' Smart' World. Design Cybernetics: Navigating the New. Springer.

Baron, P., Fantini van Ditmar, D., Griffiths, D., & Sweeting, B. (2019). Guest editorial: Resilience and ethics in social systems. Kybernetes, 48(4), pp. 666-671.

Fantini D. (2019). Juan Downey: Invisible Architecture. 100 x 100 Diseño en Chile. BTG Pactual.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2019). E= Earthquake. An Illustrated A to Z for the Design of Care Book. Lancaster University.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. & Pizey, H. (2019). To look at the 'Future of Care' which is best: Science fiction or Design fiction? Head to Head debates for the Design of Care Book. Lancaster University.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2017). Deconstructing the 'Smart' Home. Cybernetics: state of the art. TU Berlin University Press.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2017). The Algorithmic Desert. Ghost Pavillion publication. La Biennale di Venezia, 57th International Art Exhibition. Reflektor M. München, Germany.

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2017). Design Research: The IdIoT's Role in the 'SMART' Home. Revista Diseña 11, pp.122 - 133.

Fantini van Ditmar, D & Lockton, D. (2015). Taking the code for a walk. Interactions, 23 (1), pp. 68-71.

van Ditmar D. F. & Glanville R. (eds.) (2013). Listening: Proceedings of ASC conference 2011. Special double issue of Cybernetics & Human Knowing 20 (1–2).

van Ditmar, D. (2011). Bio-Cyber Cities. Fragile Conference Proceedings, pp 86-95. Sint-Lucas School of Architecture. April 6-8, Brussels & Ghent, Belgium.

Recent exhibitions

2022. Design Researchers in Residency (DRiR) 'RESTORE'. Design Museum. London, UK

2022. The Rise of 5G. Finnish Institute. In collaboration with Sanna Lehtinen (Aalto University). London, UK.

Research students

Mike Kann


Marcos Soares


Fei Wang