CC BY-SA 2.0



Location: Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. Room: CMR01.

Refreshments will be provided from 13:30

Dr. Craig Martin, Reader in Design Cultures, School of Design, The University of Edinburgh, explores the relationship between human geography and social design.

In recent years the inter-disciplinary confluence of human geography with a range of other areas such as art (Hawkins, 2013), architecture (Jacobs, 2006) and creativity more generally suggests a confident, outward-looking disciplinary state. The relative absence of design from this intellectual intermingling is somewhat surprising, particularly given design’s growing importance to anthropology and more recently sociology (Lupton, 2017). This paper seeks to redress human geography’s limited engagement with design by making the case for why such a relationship—tentatively termed "design geography”—offers productive outcomes for both areas: conceptual and methodological spaces where these disciplines might learn from each another. The meetings of the disciplines might be identified by a number of different allegiances, from mobilities (Spinney, Reimer, and Pinch, 2017), and place-making, through to planetary-scale change (Brenner and Schmid, 2012). However, in this paper I deal specifically with the action-oriented aspects of the disciplines, making the case that each shares an engagement with localised forms of praxis. The particular context of the paper is the recent interest within design towards 'social design' and 'design for change' where the situated aspects of design’s interventions in a range of geographical settings is to the fore. To examine this the paper uses a recent project where myself and co-researchers investigated aspects of energy intervention in refugee settings through the lens of social design.