Deep Dive into Design x Democracy

(offered in Q2, 2018/19)

Worldwide, democratic approaches to governance are facing significant challenges. Rising nationalism, fake news, and anti-democratic values are gaining popularity in our political discourse. This is leading to further political polarization, putting our democratic principles of inclusion and collective problem-solving at risk.

Although far-right parties are on the rise, we also notice progressive (citizen) movements experimenting with democratic innovation in a more participatory, transparent, and dialogical way. Moreover, the awareness and urgency of the issue of democracy among design scholars is increasing. Recently, professors Margolin and Manzini urged designers to stand up and fight for democracy in their own communities and throughout the world.

In this course, we take a deep dive in today’s democratic challenges and explore the role design can take. We will dive into literature, as well as collect, design, and discuss examples and experiments of democratic innovation. Together we draw a landscape of Design x Democracy (best practices and design guidelines), elaborating upon Victor Margolin’s initial distinction between design of democracy, design for democracy, and design in a democracy, towards exploring the role of participatory design as a democratic practice.

The course will be led by dr. Ingrid Mulder (TUD), Associate Professor, Design for Social Transformations. Readings and examples on democratic innovation from ongoing projects will be provided.

Course Guide can be dowloaded here.