PhD-position in Sustainability and Design
AHO PhD Programme, AHO, Norway
Application deadline February 1, 2018
Description of position
Designers, at the core of their profession, typically work with possible futures and processes that facilitate changes from ‘what is’, to a more ‘desired future’. In clear contrast to predicting or forecasting the ‘future’, this is rather to open up for new alternative solutions by making ‘the unthinkable thinkable’. Today we have overwhelming evidence that the present trajectory is not sustainable in the long-term and might lead to a very devastating future situation if it is not, more or less instantly, changed. IDE has therefore decided that long-term sustainability is an important strategical topic that we need to address, both on educational and research levels.
One of the main research level objectives is to develop the discipline of Design by extending its existing practices and forming its future foundations. From this particular position, we especially want to be at the forefront of addressing how industrial design can, and needs to, evolve in response to long-term sustainability and what kind of changes that implies for its relation to global, economic, social and ecological issues.
Long-term sustainability is an extremely complex topic to address where a diversity of approaches need to be explored. This PhD position is therefore quite open with respect to what issues and areas with which to engage. However, considering the urgency of the topic we believe that Design today needs to give much more primacy to (i) ‘real needs’ than to consumers ‘wants’, and to (ii) ‘quality of life’ rather than to a ‘standard of living’ based on increased consumption. This might imply a shift from design methods primarily concerned with the consumption and use of products by the local user, to a wider outreach involving both ‘nature’ and global as well as future users and use. We wish to develop a Design discipline that again become more socially visionary and is able to look much further than merely beyond the next product release. Consequently, we believe that one of the most important things we need to refine, is our ability to design long term foresights that can be applied on urgent social challenges like sustainability and climate change. By that, we also want to develop Design to an appropriate contributor to an ‘ecology of disciplines’ that’s concerned about common environmental challenges. So, for instance, how could design’s methods and tools be developed to more effectively and efficiently contribute to other relevant areas such as future studies, emerging technologies and climate science?
Requirements and application info at