Changing the Change


Changing the Change: Design Visions, Proposals and Tools, Torino, 10-12 Jul 2008; Deadline 21 Jan

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10-12 July 2008


An international conference on the role and potential of design research in the transition towards sustainability

Torino, Italy

Organised by Co-ordination of Italian Design Research Doctorates

in cooperation with the

Conference of Italian Design Faculty Deans and Programme Heads

In the framework of WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL TORINO 2008

An ICSID initiative of the IDA

Endorsed by the Design Research Society

The conference "Changing the Change" seeks to make a significant contribution to a necessary transformation that involves changing the direction of current changes toward a sustainable future. It specifically intends to outline the state-of-the-art of design research in terms of visions, proposals and tools with which design can actively and positively take part in the wider social learning process that will have to take place. At the heart of the conference, design researchers will present concrete and documentable research results. This will be complemented by invited keynote speaker presentations that will help paint a clearer picture of the common ground from which the conference will take off.


The conference seeks to make a significant contribution to the twofold transformation underway. It specifically intends to outline the state-of-the-art of design research in terms of vision, proposals and tools with which design can actively and positively take part in the wider social learning process that we refer to as "changing the change." The conference has a double aim:

  • to consolidate a design research culture and practice oriented towards a constructive critical attitude able to reach all design disciplines. The conference intends to focus on the way in which the question of "changing the change" is present and widespread throughout the research community and in relation to all design fields: from product design to communication design; from interior design to interaction, service and strategic design; from social design to fashion design.
  • to outline the state-of-the-art of contributions that design research is today able to bring to social conversation about the future. The conference seeks to bring visibility to significant results. This with particular attention to visions of the future, to feasible solutions and to tools to help bring them into being. It will also enable us to make of the conference and its published output a tool for communication with the outside world; a tool able to demonstrate what design research can offer today to help re-orientate the transformation underway.

In view of these aims, the conference will centre on the presentation of research results that could make a positive contribution to ‘changing the change’. It will welcome contributions that take as their starting point transformations that have already taken place and those underway, and the necessity to re-orient them towards more sustainable outcomes. It hopes to present the widest range of possible world visions, feasible proposals and the design tools that could bring them into being.


The field of interest of the conference is vast and will be divided into various specific themes within which more precise, focused discussion will be possible. This organisation into specific themes will be undertaken after contributions have been selected, so as to take into account what will actually be proposed. For the moment we only indicate an initial, general division into the three themes already introduced: visions, proposals and tools. Visions: this section will present research results that lead us to imagine possible worlds, or parts of possible worlds. It includes the results of activities in the field of scenario design and more general visions produced by research into specific products, communications and services. It also includes a comparative analysis of visions emerging from design history and from a comparison of different cultures.

Proposals: this section presents results of design research that give rise to concrete solutions containing elements of systemic innovation. They are also legible as concrete steps towards a new generation of sustainable products, services and systems. So, products, services and product and service systems are proposed along with the communicative artefacts that link several actors and artefacts together. It also proposes places for a new everyday life, the activities that take place within them and the new production and consumption networks that emerge from them. Tools: this section presents the results of research that aims to redefine and develop conceptual and operational tools which enable designers to operate within change and influence its direction. Such tools enable them to participate constructively in new design networks, and deal with emerging problems. Tools may be proposed for conceptualisation and representation, for calculation and appraisal of results or for stimulation and prototype making.


The conference will mainly be a meeting point for academics, researchers and research students in the field of design theory and practice. However, in uniting a high academic level with the effort to present concrete results of activities carried out, it will also be of considerable interest to the wider design community and to those economic and social operators who recognise the potential of design practice and design research.


Abstracts should be between 500 and 700 words long, excluding the bibliography. The deadline for the reception of abstracts is January 21, 2008. Reception of abstracts will be acknowledged and notices of acceptance or rejection will be sent by March 3, 2008. The abstracts will be evaluated and selected by a blind peer review process. Full papers are limited to 6000 words. The deadline for full papers is on May 26, 2008.

Selection criteria

The abstracts will be evaluated and selected by a blind peer review process. Coherently with the conference aims, the Peer Review Committee will base its decisions on three major criteria: (1) relevance to the topics of "Changing the change"? as outlined below and in the website, (2) focalisation, in terms of clarity of the vision, of the proposal or the design tool and theory they present, and (3) reliability, in terms of the quality of the design research on which the paper is based.

More precisely:

  • abstracts must be clearly defined as visions, proposals or design tools and theories (please select the proper option at the head of the abstract template and delete the others) : visions refer to scenarios of possible worlds, or parts of possible worlds; proposals present specific solutions to specific problems; tools and theories introduce conceptual and operational devices enabling designers to operate in contemporary contexts.
  • abstracts must clearly refer to the contemporary context and to its on-going transformations (considering the different ways they are taking place in different regions of the world). In this framework, they should present design research results that, moving from a deep understanding of these transformations, propose a design contribution involving a re-orientation towards more sustainable directions.
  • abstracts must present design research results and clearly indicate the specific research programme they are based on (with its aims, methodology and main actors). Given these three pre-requisites, abstracts (and the papers that will follow) can deal with any topics in any design fields: from product to communication; from interior to interaction; from service to strategy; from social design to fashion.


Special consideration will be dedicated to abstracts/papers presenting design research projects with highly communicative visual results.

Therefore, together with the abstract/paper, a visualisation can be submitted as material for an exhibition that will be organized parallel to the Conference.

The visualisations do not substitute the papers. To be accepted for evaluation they have to refer to a paper that has to be selected by the Peer review Committee.

The conference will host an exhibition based on the visualisations proposed by selected papers. These visualisations are not the traditional scientific posters. They are visual presentations of design research results. They have to show visions of possible worlds and proposals for sustainable solutions. Whoever intends to deliver a visualisation must submit a first draft together with the abstract of the paper presenting the research on which the visualization is based. (Deadline: January 21, 2008)


All selected and presented papers will be published on line, and placed in the conference website in printable form.

A special peer review jury will adjudicate the best papers submitted. The best papers and the presentations of the keynote speakers will be published in book form.