Engaging Design: Empowering Beyond ‘Participation’ For Active Engagement

Robert Phillips, Nicholas Gant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Design’s approach to complexity; often employs tactics aimed at engaging the
public, provoking awareness, seeking transitional behaviour(s) and provoking
changes in culture. Engaging Design (ED) initiates active involvement (as
a new paradigm for embedding provocative design propositions) within communities
and society. ED is an empowering practice (traversing beyond participation)
energising communities, providing agency and facilitating; ‘selfauthored’
and ‘community authored’ responsible change.
Distributed tools, capabilities and access to knowledge has transformed ‘authorship’
to be socially, environmentally and contextually led. ED examples respond
to environmental concerns; presenting opportunities to achieve sustainable
and responsible goals. The work focuses on ‘authorship and responsibility’
as material and engagement ‘mis-use’ remains unregulated. This presents
design’s responsibility toward embodying sustainable behaviour in all its means.
We analyse two case study research projects that foster independence, authorship,
as a means to engender engagement; 1) My Naturewatch, engages DIY
technologies to create digital trail cameras, empowering people to create and
author ‘accessible nature’, through ‘homecooked’ environment exploration.
2) Grangemead, is a facilitated, community-led response, enabling participants
to design their own garden within a local-authority carehome. Authors unpick
design practice examples, presenting Engaging Design methods for;
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-49
JournalResearch in Arts and Education
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2021


  • Engagement
  • Authorship
  • Empowering
  • Design
  • Responsible
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Engaging Design: Empowering Beyond ‘Participation’ For Active Engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this