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2019 International DEFSA Conference

Designed Futures

Design educators interrogating the future of design knowledge, research and education.

Design is sometimes portrayed as a practice that can address our damaged environment, mitigate the negative impact of technology, contribute to the global economy and help us to adapt to societal changes. Designers’ skills, ways of thinking and doing equip them to address a range of complex tasks that may require innovative solutions.

Given the value of design in an increasingly automated future, how can we prepare our students for a world where they must rapidly acquire new knowledge, learn new skills and adapt to new contexts and cultures? How can we as educators and researchers support the production of new knowledge and prepare our students for a changing world?


The 8th International DEFSA Conference explored these challenges under the themes of design knowledge, design research and postgraduate design education.



  • Local vs global
  • Representation, communication and sharing of design knowledge
  • Experiential knowledge
  • The intersections between texts and objects as the material of design
  • Design fictions
  • Storying the intersection of design, research and collaborative humans


  • Lessons from industry
  • Studio based design research
  • Applied design research
  • Design-based research
  • Blue skies research in design
  • Collaborative design research
  • Design ethics and research
  • Design philosophy as research


  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Postgraduate studies, formats and assessment
  • Postgraduate supervision
  • The young researcher