As social design researcher, together with Mi Sun Na, we began a research that explores different ways of interacting with and through design in a community-based project aiming to facilitate a step towards a better way of living.

We start from the basis that design research should avoid methodological standardisation and instead enhance design’s inherent capability for exploring, speculating, singularizing, diversifying and expressing results in a completely different way; a research methodology that can be conceptually varied, imaginative and even poetic. This is, perhaps, most apparent when the object of investigation is not focused on objects or services, but has a direct impact on people’s lives.

Avoiding this academic standarisation, we decided to apply participatory driven research methodologies, such as Research through Design(RtD) and Participatory Action Research(PAR).

This four month applied investigation— with, through and for the community of Sant Boi de Llobregat—can be seen as an open-ended process where every design activity is considered to be part of a larger research initiative. As a result, new knowledge has been created, and most importantly, this knowledge is capable of being transferable from one project to another.

We believe that design has great power to support social change, and that researching through design reveals and facilitates a deeper understanding of peoples behaviours, needs and dreams.

The community we work with is based in the municipality of Sant Boi de Llobregat, a small town located on the periphery of Barcelona, in the Spanish State of Catalonia. The site is a square in Sant Boi de Llobregat, where an old abandoned kiosk has been reclaimed by a group of social educators from the Association CirculaCultura, not to sell newspapers or magazines, but rather to be a space for culture, education and art.

Through our project we ask:

What kind of design actions could we apply to make it easier for the community of Sant Boi de Llobregat to appropriate its kiosk and decide which future they want for it?

How can we create the conditions so that the community will be able to make their own choice willingly, seeing that the kiosk as a step towards a better way of living in their neighbourhood?

Video resume

Ethnographic music composition

Tutors:

Danielle Wilde

Associate Professor of Embodied Design at the University of Southern Denmark, Kolding (SDU). She aims to understand how designing with, for and through the full sensorial richness of the human body might transform how design and living unfold in a more-than-human world, positing human embodiment, the climate crisis and the 6th mass extinction as interdependent material issues.

Andreu Belsunces

Researcher of the intersection between sociology of technology and design, post-digital cultures, new narratives, collaborative practices and social innovation.