Social & Global Research Space

The Social & Global space is a new research space that aims to use the tools and methods of people-centred design to solve difficult social issues.

At its core, it is about design that benefits society. Over recent years we have seen unprecedented global changes in the way we live, with humanitarian, environmental, social and technological challenges all feeling closer than ever. Traditionally, the approach has been to attempt to solve these with largely top-down policy initiatives that have often lacked relevance to people. Our interests lie in understanding how people-centred design can tackle some of these social and global challenges by putting people and communities at the heart of the design process. 

Some early questions look at – how will the future of mobility affect people’s everyday lives? How can the rapid advances in technology improve wellbeing? How can we empower communities to take control of their own governance and improve the environment that they live in? And how can we provide equal opportunities for development in the area of the Global South?

Although we are at the early stages of setting up the research space, we are already seeing many of our projects tackle Social & Global issues. Our work on the Future Foyle has looked at how people-centred design can help to improve the emotional wellbeing of an entire city by working directly with the communities most affected by change. In mobility, the GATEway project has re imagined autonomous vehicles in a city of the future by exploring people’s hopes and fears, rather than purely technological advances.

We are at the start of this journey, but believe, with the Centre’s experience and expertise in people-centred design, we can help to deliver research projects with real social and global impact.  

Research Space Leader:

Dr Jak Spencer