2013 - 2017
Communicating the things we experience, as opposed to, the things we measure.
A new design method and tool for businesses to identify their qualities of sustainability and find new ways to amplify.
Workshops on a global tour
Welcoming partnerships with accelerator programmes.
The role of communication design in social innovation for sustainability is the central subject of this thesis. This significant yet under-explored area is the focus of study through practice-led design research.
Two current paradigms underpin this study. First, the definition of communication design as an expanded practice that goes beyond visual communication to include communicating through interaction and experiences, as a practice that facilitates complex social exchange and constructs meaning in the world, whether by expert or non-expert designers. Second, the recent discussion in the area of design for sustainability focusing on the ‘qualities’ displayed by initiatives of social-environmental purpose. These qualities are perceivable and cultivated through the interaction and experience of those who take part. The conjunction of these two paradigms locate the following research questions: What are the distinct roles of communication design practice in social innovation for sustainability? How can communication design practice expand on the social and relational nature of these initiatives? How might the qualities of sustainability be cultivated through the process and products of communication design?
These questions were pursued through practice-led research in the sub-context of sustainable food initiatives as an established and growing area of social innovation.
The methodology was iterative and collaborative, working with 17 sustainable food initiatives. Through a series of 6 workshops a practical tool was developed and tested to support these initiatives to co-create communication design that amplifies their qualities that characterise the sustainability of their activities, using their existing assets. The research contributes to the discipline of communication design and the field of social innovation for sustainability, with a new tool and context for collaborative practice titled communications assembly.