Conference Themes

1. Engaging Values and Innovative Practices

Most advertising and marketing seeks to make us aware of what we lack, especially in the eyes of others. Our daily lives are organised around routines influenced by an ambient ‘waste-making’ culture. Our decisions have immediate material consequences, and we often use an imagined future to override a supposedly imperfect present. How can we steer our cultural values away from the extrinsic individualism that characterizes consumerism towards a more ‘custodial’ valuing of possessions, places, environments and experiences?

2. Engaging Communities through Social Innovation

Social innovation has been defined as a ‘process of inventing, securing support for, and implementing novel solutions to social needs and problems’ (Stanford SI Review 2003). This is now widely used by designers and others intent on helping communities discover and implement more sustainable ways of living, producing and consuming. How can social innovation be used to change or reduce accelerating consumerism and waste-making?

3. Engaging Strategies for Designed Reuse

Reuse can subvert the consumerist preference for the ‘brand new’, and shift attention to what remains useful as well as beautiful over the longer term. In what ways and through what means can designed reuse be harnessed to slow or reshape consumerism? How can designers harness ‘waste’ to change production and consumption towards a more custodial, long-lasting, environmentally sensitive form of possession and use?

4. Redesigning Urban Systems for Low Carbon Living

Many urban systems are wasteful, encouraging unsustainable energy use and material flows. Problems such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the urban heat island effect, are amongst the most immediate effects of Climate Change. ‘Low carbon living’ promises a technologically integrated approach to reducing the impact of these problems in a systemic way. How can this approach be used to shift community expectations and wasteful practices? How can they be used to further a more resilient and sustainable circular economy?