His research focuses on design for sustainability; product aesthetics and meaning; practice-based design research and product design that explores and expresses human values and notions of spirituality. He employs the creative design process itself as a mode of inquiry, which honours both the core practice and creative potential of ‘designing’. He has written and edited several books on these themes.His dozens of peer-reviewed papers have been published and presented internationally (see recent selections below) and his propositional and experimental (academic) design work has been exhibited across Canada, in Italy and the UK, including an exhibition at the Design Museum, London.
He is Visiting Professor of Sustainable Design at Kingston University, UK; Adjunct Professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto; and Emeritus Professor at the University of Calgary, Canada, where he spent much of his early academic career and where he was Associate Dean (Academic) and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Environmental Design.
UMW 2015 Keynote: DESIGN SHIFT – The inward path to holistic design
This talk will demonstrate how practice-based design research can address critical contemporary concerns about material culture and waste. The process combines study, practice and reflection, and results in the interrelated outcomes of reasoned argument and propositional objects. A critique is made of the continuing dominance of modernist design and its contemporary links to globalized production, exploitation and consumerism. The inescapable connections to environmental harm and social injustice provide a case firstly, for context-based, distributed approaches suited to local needs and, secondly, and perhaps more importantly, for a shift in outlook, values and priorities based on inner development and the examined life of the individual. This takes the design agenda from one of gradual improvement within the current manufacturing context to one of fundamental, systemic change – from incremental design to holistic design.
Start Walker’s latest book is published by Routledge. Read a summary here >>