Design + Ethics: How is it more than the sum of its parts?

Deger Ozkaramanli, Michael Nagenborg, Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Sanna Lehtinen, Christine Schwöbel-Patel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The discussion of ethics in design has so far relied on theories and approaches from other disciplines. We argue that design can benefit from an explicit discussion on the ethics of its methods and practices that arises from within the discipline. This Conversation aimed at stimulating this discussion. Around 25 people attended in person, in addition to the online participants. We asked our audience about the main approaches they use for ethical inquiry and discussed the opportunities and challenges of applying these. We found out that ethics may best be framed as an invitation to care, without reducing it to a checklist, toolkit or an afterthought that can be added onto the design process. Although the situated nature of ethical issues calls for a plurality of approaches, we foresee boundaries to pluralism that acknowledge historical legacies of violence. Hence, we see a role for design to willingly engage with problematizing (vs. problem-solving) when addressing societal issues, with a view towards structural injustices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication DRS2022: Bilbao
PublisherDesign Research Society
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventDesign Research Society International Conference - Bilbao, Spain
Duration: 25 Jun 20223 Jul 2022
Conference number: 25

Publication series

NameProceedings of DRS
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference
Abbreviated titleDRS
Internet address


  • design ethics
  • interdisciplinary research
  • practice-based research
  • design education


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