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Introduction to Designing for Transitions in Transitions


Adjunct Professor Cameron Tonkinwise lead a workshop at RMIT in June 2016

Transition Design is a response to the inadequacies of Ecodesign and Social Design. Both seem to have failed to redirect out consumer societies in any significant way toward more sustainable futures. Both also appear to have been bypassed by the more dominant forms of Interaction Design and the resulting emergence of networked platform economies. In the mean time, Sociologies of Technology and Social Practice have developed more sophisticated accounts of design’s agency. This workshop will describe the emerging model of Transition Design and explain how it brings multi-level, multi-stage change strategies to societies networked by unsustainable infrastructure and an overlaid social media.

Cameron Tonkinwise is the Director of Design Studies and Doctoral Studies at the Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. He was previously Associate Dean Sustainability at Parsons The New School of Design. Cameron’s background is in philosophy and he continues to explore what designers can learn from philosophies of making, material culture studies and sociologies of technology. His research focuses on Sustainable Design and Service Design, and in particular on ways of reducing societal materials intensity by decoupling use and ownership – in other words, systems of shared use.