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2019 International DEFSA Conference

Designed Futures

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

  • Date: 9-11 September 2019
  • City: Cape Town 
  • Hosts: CPUT and Vega
  • Workshop: Postgraduate research, building on knowledge 11 September 09h00 – 13h30

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 explores these challenges under the themes of design knowledge, design research and postgraduate design education.


  • Membership discounts apply to Individual and Student members as well as academic staff and students at DEFSA member institutions.
  • Early Bird Discount requires registration and FULL payment before 30 June 2019.
  • Student rates are for full-time students (excludes full-time academic staff)
  • Registration closes 7 August 2019
  • Refunds will only be issued if cancellation is made in writing before 16 August 2019.

DEFSA members

  • R2 250 early bird rate: registration and payment before 30 June 2019
  • R2 750 for payments between 1 July and 7 August 2019
  • R1 500 full-time students. Payment before 7 August 2019


  • R3 250 early bird rate: registration and payment before 30 June 2019
  • R3 750 for payments between 1 July and 7 August 2019
  • R2 000 full-time students. Payment before 7 August 2019

Conference Dinner

  • R275 per delegate

The dinner will be held at the Granger Bay Hotel School, starting 19:00 for 19:30 on Monday 9 September. The cost includes the meal, drinks for own account. Registration and payment by 7 August 2019.



  • 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