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LDoc Keynote Lecture: What Can Participatory Design Contribute to Participatory Democracy

23 November 2017 | 5.45pm – 9pm

Central St Martins, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

The London Doctoral Design Centre would like to welcome you to their 10th Keynote lecture, lead by Professor Lorraine Gamman and Professor Adam Thorpe, followed by a drinks reception at UAL.


This presentation will discuss the potential contribution of participatory design to democracy in local government and criminal justice, presenting Professor Gamman and Professor Thorpe's, work with the Public Collaboration Lab and the Makeright Design Academy at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, as case studies. The presentation will explain why they feel there is a need for designers to use their daily work as a site of praxis that can impact on political arenas. Participatory and collaborative design approaches have potential to both democratise innovation but also to innovate democracy - finding new ways to involve diverse people in decision making processes. The paper responds to the call by Ezio Manzini and Victor Margolin (2017) to argue that there is a need for designers to use their skills of future thinking, visualisation and materialisation to open up the political space by making room for new visions and political contestations. Drawing on the work of Chantal Mouffe who has argued that democracy is a space where agonism is welcomed and can be seen and heard, Professor Gamman and Professor Thorpe suggest that design can help engage with those currently poorly represented in political debate and so help assemble new publics and foster new futures.


LDoc is the Centre for Doctoral training in Design Research Study, located in London, a world hub for Design and the creative industries. Funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, LDoc is a collaboration between three internationally leading London based higher education institutions: the Royal College of Art (RCA), Kingston University (KU) and University of the Arts London (UAL) The Centre provides cross institutional PhD studentships and training, working in collaboration with key industry partners. The Centre promotes and supports world-class Design Research Study and knowledge exchange. It offers a concentration of high-level skills and expertise in creative, critical and ethical thinking that prepares graduates to contribute to the creative and cultural industries and wider professional world.