This project aims to extend and establish a DESIS-UK Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability), as a national multidisciplinary network of individuals and organisations exploring design-led social innovation and sustainability in collaboration with UK HE. It aims to strengthen connections between design academics and academies, design practitioners, and end users of design from public, private and third sector organisations and the communities they serve, to explore how best to employ design thinking and skills to deliver sustainable social and environmental benefits to communities. The project will deliver a series of DESIS networking events across the UK during 2013. The DESIS-UK Network is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).



University of the Arts London Royal College of Art Lancaster University Northumbria University University of Lincoln Kingston University



Adam Thorpe, Principle Investigator.

Adam Thorpe is a Reader in Socially Responsive Design and Innovation at University of the Arts London. He is based at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design where he is Creative Director of the Socially Responsive Design and Innovation Hub and the Design Against Crime Research Centre and co-ordinator of the University of the Arts London’s (UAL) Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab.




Clare Brass, Co-Investigator.

For many years Clare Brass was a prominent product designer, who, early in her career, began to explore ways of using design to help people adopt a more pro-environmental behaviour. Leader of Sustainability at the Design Council until 2007, she is recognised as an outspoken champion of design and sustainability and is currently exploring new ways for designers to use their professional abilities while addressing social and environmental challenges. She took up a part-time role at Design London to bring social enterprise and sustainability thinking to business, design and engineering students of IDE at the RCA and Imperial College.



Professor Robert Young

Robert Young is Chair in Design Practice and the Director for the Centre for Design Research in the School of Design at Northumbria University, where he has directed research activities since 1991. He originally trained as an Industrial Designer. Before taking up a full time academic appointment in 1984 he worked in the furniture and engineering manufacturing industries, as a design researcher with the Home Office and emergency services.



Anne Chick (45 of 80)

Professor Anne Chick

Anne is Professor of Design in the Lincoln School of Art & Design, College of Arts, at the University of Lincoln. She is Co-Director of Art and Design research and a senior management academic. Anne has been researching and teaching in the area of Design for Sustainability for over twenty years. Over the past three years she has been investigating participatory design and design for social innovation, the emerging contemporary principles and approaches, as well as opportunities and challenges for design professionals engaging in it.



Dr Daniela Sangiorgi

Daniela is Senior Lecturer in Service Design, Design for Public Services, Service Innovation at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on Service Design. She has investigated services as complex social systems, proposing holistic and participatory approaches to Service Design. In recent work she has been investigating the role of Design in public sector reform and in service innovation in general.



226Micklethwaite, Paul

Dr Paul Micklethwaite

Is Senior Research Fellow in the School of Design at Kingston University. Paul’s primary interests are in the impact of the sustainability agenda on the theory and practice of design, and emerging modes of design practice such as social innovation and open design. He developed social research capabilities while investigating the research question ‘What is design?’ for PhD (completed 2002). Paul regularly collaborates with sustainability and design-led organisations, companies and manufacturers on knowledge transfer and research projects.



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Joe Juiler

Joe is Research Assistant on the DESIS UK networking project based within the Socially Responsive Design and Innovation Hub at Central Saint Martins. Before joining Central Saint Martins, Joe worked in the Manufacturing Design and Innovation team at Policy Connect, where he undertook research on the role of design in public service provision. He currently also works as a service designer and social researcher at Futuregov. Joe’s background is in Sociology and Design, and his primary research interest is the in cross fertilisation of practice between the two disciplines.




Chloe Griffith

Chloe is administrator on the project. She is a core member of the Design Against Crime Research Centre and the Socially Responsive Design and Innovation Hub at Central Saint Martins. She is involved in the administration and management of all DACRC projects.





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Dr Matt Malpass

Matt is a lecturer on MA Industrial Design and a Research Fellow within the Socially Responsive Design and Innovation Hub at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London. His research interests focus on critical and socially responsive forms of design and design-led social innovation.




The Network aims to help the Universities in promoting and supporting Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) across their colleges and courses. It provides an opportunity to help shape the pedagogic focus of DESIS in UK HE in a spirit of peer-to-peer collaboration within a network of institutional partners.


This website functions as a knowledge exchange platform and a research tool. Research questions and topics, including those emerging from network events, are defined and discussed in the discussion forum. These conversations are summarised as blog posts that aim to illicit further comment from the DESIS UK community. At stages in the project, discussions, posts and comments will be consolidated as collaboratively produced resources that disseminate DESIS community insights and are available for download from the resource section.


Start/join a conversation
DESIS Network conversations on topics of interest to the DESIS UK community.


Comment on conversation summaries
Comment on the issues and insights that arise from DESIS UK conversations as summarised on the blog.


Download resources
Posts and comments are consolidated as collaboratively produced resources that are available for download.