Teaching design for sustainability from the classroom: Uncomfortable reflections from a comfortable place

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


The paper describes co-teaching on a masters programme with design for sustainability at its core. The programme puts emphasis on involving multiple societal stakeholders but increasingly also on appreciating the often tricky social and value-laden dimensions of designing better futures. In this context, we seek to foster students’ imagination and support their utopian thought and futures-oriented design. The classroom experience shows that this is achievable through rather conventional academic practices, ones rooted in disciplinary insight and empirical and historical research. The paper also suggests that enhancing students’ self-critical understanding of their own situatedness, even their own comforts, by grounding both teaching and speculation historically, supports their impulse to be simultaneously bold and realistic. It also tempers the tendency in design research to offer “we should” as research outcome. The contents of both “we” and “should” can be left empty, but more is gained by being clear about the implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordes 2023: This Space Intentionally Left Blank
EditorsS. Holmlid, V. Rodrigues, C. Westin, P. G. Krogh, M. Mäkelä, D. Svanaes, Å. Wikberg-Nilsson
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages10
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventNordic Design Research Conference: This Space Intentionally Left Blank - Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Duration: 11 Jun 202314 Jun 2023
Conference number: 10

Publication series

NameNordic design research conference
ISSN (Electronic)1604-9705


ConferenceNordic Design Research Conference
Abbreviated titleNORDES
Internet address


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