Design and Ethics: Reflections on Practice

I’ve received a preview copy of an important forthcoming volume, “Design and Ethics: Reflections on Practice,” edited by Emma Felton, Oksana Zelenko, Suzi Vaughan. This book marks an important contribution to the growing “ethical design” or “values in design” community of scholars and practitioners. From the publisher:

The value of design for contributing to environmental solutions and a sustainable future is increasingly recognised. It spans many spheres of everyday life, and the ethical dimension of design practice that considers environmental, social and economic sustainability is compelling.

Approaches to design recognise design as a practice that can transform human experience and understanding, expanding its role beyond stylistic enhancement. The traditional roles of design, designer and designed object are therefore redefined through new understanding of the relationship between the material and immaterial aspects of design where the design product and the design process are embodiments of ideas, values and beliefs.

This multi-disciplinary approach considers how to create design which is at once aesthetically pleasing and also ethically considered, with contributions from fields as diverse as architecture, fashion, urban design and philosophy. The authors also address how to teach design based subjects while instilling a desire in the student to develop ethical work practices, both inside and outside the studio.

I’m pleased to have contributed an essay to this volume, “Values and Pragmatic Action: The Challenges of Engagement with Technical Communities in Support of Value-Conscious Design,” which I co-authored with Noëmi Manders-Huits. Our contribution builds on our earlier publication, “Values and Pragmatic Action: The Challenges of Introducing Ethical Intelligence in Technical Design Communities,” and I hope the book can help expand the reach of our work.

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