Aesthetics, Cosmopolitics and Design









Designing Debate: The Entanglement of Speculative Design and Upstream Engagemen

Tobie Kerridge

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Keywords: Speculative, Engagement, Qualitative, Empirical


This paper offers a critical reflection of a design practice in which a speculative approach to design became entangled with upstream engagement with biotechnology research. Given that both practices claim to enable a public discussion about emergent technology, what is the nature of their mixing, and how should an analytical account of such a design practice be made? I focus on the project Material Beliefs as a case, and argue that the move on upstream engagement by speculative design is an imbroglio that goes beyond mixing the formal features of practice, and requires a discussion concerning the actions of the designer in relation to a broader set of accountabilities. Ultimately, I contend that this mixing provides an opportunity to foster a reflexive and empirical account of speculative practice, inciting analysis of the organisations and settings that support a speculative approach, and providing a critique of upstream engagement. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Kerridge, T. (2016). Designing Debate: The Entanglement of Speculative Design and Upstream Engagement . Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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