Tuesday 17th October 2023, Brazil

City host: São Paulo, Brazil

The University of São Paulo School of Architecture and Urbanism Graduate Program in Design, in partnershipwith São Paulo State University School of Architecture, Arts and Communication Graduate Program in Design

Design practice, research, and education in Latin America evolved through the trenches shaped by the uncertain socio-technical contexts of middle-income countries, in a process highly influenced by European and US development standards. Two decades after the creation of the first PhD programs in design in Brazil and Latin America, despite the de-industrialization process opposite to the industrialization landscape that first established the need for design in the middle of the 20th century, design emerged as an essential field able to frame multiple aspects of human experience. 

Yet not widely recognized, especially within governmental and public sectors, design is a discipline capable of producing knowledge, imagining, and shaping better futures. The work of pioneers like Darcy Ribeiro and Gui Bonsiepe pinpoints the emancipatory role of higher education and the challenges of ‘development through design’ in Latin America, stressing the center-periphery relation. Bonsiepe also addressed the tense relationships between design science, professional practice, and academia. More recently, the ontological design approach to the pluriverse proposed by Arturo Escobar brings to light the need for autonomy and inclusion in ‘a world where many worlds fit’. This hub focuses on the challenges, achievements, and threats faced by design research and education beyond Europe and the US. Why, when, and how have Latin American public and private universities established doctoral degree programs in Design, and how have those programs evolved? What opportunities, constraints, and practices influenced the configuration of design research and PhD programs in different countries and regions? Which efforts were made to promote inclusion and diversity inside and outside academia? How does design research contribute to the acknowledgement of local traditions and artefacts as relevant to design culture? What are the current challenges and actions toward counterbalancing racial and gender-based discrimination and historical inequalities?

Submission is closed

We accepted contributions in two categories: 

  • Full paper (for oral presentation): 3000 – 4000 words, plus 150-word abstract. Indicated for completed investigations with consolidated results. 
  • Short paper (for poster presentation): 1000 to 2000 words, plus a 150-word abstract. Indicated for research results in progress, short reflections, or specific case studies.

Additional information on the submissions for São Paulo can be found on their individual host website

Themes of enquiry/questions: 

  • Pluriversal histories of design, design practices, design research and design education 
  • Inclusion and diversity in design research and doctoral education 
  • Latin American doctoral research in design: achievements and future challenges 
  • Design for development in Latin America today: the relevance of design research to the design sector and related industries 
  • Design research methods for transient times: the relevance and impact of evidence-based design 
  • Transdisciplinarity in PhD design education 
  • Emerging technologies and future directions for design research 
  • PhD in design candidates: trajectories and impacts inside and outside academia

Conference Venues

Monday 16th

The Discipline of Design – transdisciplinary practices (Bilbao, Spain)

Faculty of Architecture at the University of the Basque Country in partnership with the University of Deusto, (Spain).

Tuesday 17th

Living in the Pluriverse (São Paulo, Brazil)

School of Archítecture and Urbanism, University of Sao Paulo, (Brazil)

Wednesday 18th

Beyond Human-Centred Design Research (Sonipat, India)

World University of Design in partnership with RIMT University, School of Art & Design.

Thursday 19th

Exploring the Social Impact of Design Research (Espoo, Finland)

Aalto University, Department of Design (Finland) in partnership with the department of design at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology (USA), and the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University (USA).

Friday 20th

Extreme Making (Glasgow, Scotland)

The Glasgow School of Art, in partnership with the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh University.