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Type of project
Applied research

About the project

The goal for the project Sustainia is  to use designerly methods to make the unspeakable speakable in bringing Climate Change high up on the public agenda and by facilitating a more radical change of everyday life than seems possible today.

The perhaps most influential researcher within Climate Change, the NASA scientist James Hansen claims that ‘The problem is that the act of slowing down emissions, by itself, does almost no good. The reason is that the lifetime of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere-ocean system is millennia. So it does not matter much if the fossil fuel is burned this year or next year [instead we need] a strategic approach that leaves most of the fossil fuels in the ground’ (Hansen, 2009: 172). But, honestly, how likely is that to happen? This is especially so as research at Stanford within Socio-Psychology seems to imply that ‘People stop paying attention to Climate Change when they realize there is no easy solution [and] judge as serious only those problems for which actions can be taken’ (Norgaard).

Research question:
How to utilize designerly means to facilitate a radicalized public discourse concerning  complex issues like Climate Change and Development

Analytical frames:
An eclectic and pragmatic selection of post-colonial and socio-political-economical perspectives on Climate Change, Development, Consumption and Radical as well as Social Change.

Arguably, on an instrumental level the project tries to merge contemporary design methods with methods found within Foresight and Back-casting. On a more conceptual level the methods employed can be described as a merge of research by design and ‘research for a discursive design’.

The project will primarily deliver two things; (i) what we coined “discursive elements” facilitating a public discourse beyond mere optimization of the unsustainable systems we have today, and (ii) a method to achieve such “discursive elements”.

Internal strategic funding

Edeholt (2006) Sustainable Innovation from an Art-and-Design Perspective, Sustainable Innovation 06, 23rd– 24th October 2006, Chicago, USA

Capjon and Edeholt (2008) DESIGN (x) DIASPORA; implementing sustainable development in developing countries, Changing the Change Conference 2008, Turin, Italy

Edeholt (2011) Why Design matters more today than ever before, Nordes 2011,  Helsinki, Finland

Edeholt (2011) Design, design research and researching design– exploring methodological diversity, Design, Development and Research 2011, Cape Town, South Africa