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


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