Prototyping Practices

Program run 2012-2016.
Funded by the Baltic 'Hyresrabatt'.

With 'Prototyping Practices', a research program at Umeå Institute of Design, we aimed to 'prototype' not objects or services but practices in order to experiment and explore the implications of social, cultural and technological changes and challenges to design. This research program consists of three basic themes, each containing a set of complex challenges to the foundations of prevalent design practice.

This basic research program consists of three parallel but interconnected themes:

Design and Social Innovation addresses recent developments in user-centred design and how the design process moves out to become increasingly embedded in social and cultural practices;

Design as a Critical Practice on how practice-led and artistic design research can be used to develop and articulate critical perspectives from within design; 

The Work of Design after the Age of Mass-Production exploring (post-)industrial design in the light of how emerging digital technologies challenge present modes of mass-production by means of making local, independent and pro-am production possible.

Considered on their own, each theme is an exploration -and a prototyping- of what new design practices might emerge as a response the new possibilities offered. Considered together, they form the basis for a more general inquiry into how practices can (or can not) be prototyped in design research.