A blog about design at the OU.

  • The Many Hidden Aspects of Mending

    The Many Hidden Aspects of Mending

    According to WRAP (2012), around 166 million items of clothing could be worn again if they were repaired yet nearly 350,000 tonnes of clothing were discarded as residual waste in 2021. If more clothing were to be repaired around 13.9 kg of carbon emissions per garment would be saved (Bevilacqua et al., 2011) which could […]

  • Food, shelter and re-designing home

    Food, shelter and re-designing home

    As a new resident in Milton Keynes, I’ve brought along my decades-long curiosity about how people live day to day and how they organise themselves in different places and cultures to meet needs for food and shelter. Since neither can be guaranteed for all people anywhere in a world of deepening inequality, designers committed to […]

  • Lessons from a Santaless Sleigh

    Lessons from a Santaless Sleigh

    Having been asked to provide a Design Blog just ahead of Christmas, I wondered how I might combine this yuletide timing with my design research. I have been working on both research and teaching pieces that explore the product, service and system design impacts of emerging electric and autonomous vehicle technologies. That’s not very Christmassy. […]

  • Presenting Futures Literacy to the Scottish Government

    Presenting Futures Literacy to the Scottish Government

    One of the things we get to do now and again as academics is to speak to governments and politicians in policy areas we are interested in. This year, the OU in Scotland contributed to the Royal Society of Chemistry event Science and the Parliament event. This brings together scientists, business, politicians, and government to […]

  • Designing for the future of mobility: A Day at Coventry Museum of Transport

    Designing for the future of mobility: A Day at Coventry Museum of Transport

    In an era dominated by remote work, the significance of in-person collaborative design events cannot be overstated. While our students study design at a distance, the occasional face-to-face gathering remains crucial for boosting morale and fostering a sense of community that can be challenging to achieve remotely. Amidst the constraints imposed by the pandemic, opportunities […]

  • The BAD Conference

    The BAD Conference

    I recently had the opportunity to attend The Bad Conference, part of Product Design Week #PDW23, organised by Tech Circus in London. The turnout for the in-person event was impressive, with 250 individuals joining in person. Networking, an essential part of such gatherings, felt notably different post-Covid. Rather than the fluid mingling of the past, […]

  • Our Design Internship Sisterhood

    Our Design Internship Sisterhood

    By Ida Rodrigues and Cindy Darbandi (OU Design Curriculum Interns and Consultants) In 2022, the Open University developed a virtual internship opportunity to support the diversification of the new design curriculum. We applied separately for the two intern roles that were available while studying different courses towards our design degrees. We both were curious about […]

  • Anxiety and Optimism: Designs on Barbenheimer.

    Anxiety and Optimism: Designs on Barbenheimer.

    As an 11 year old in the early 70s, I was fascinated by the idea that the tiniest components of everything in the world, (including ourselves), had within them the power to obliterate the planet. I read avidly about the structure of atoms, and what they had the potential to unleash. The Cold War fuelled […]

  • Dancing with Decolonial Curriculum Theorists: A Search for the Middle Path in Design Education

    Dancing with Decolonial Curriculum Theorists: A Search for the Middle Path in Design Education

    Introduction Over the years, the definition and understanding of curriculum have evolved and continue to evolve. Around five decades ago, Grumet (1981) defined curriculum as the stories we tell students about the past, present, and future, and a decolonial view of this curriculum definition questions the stories students are being told about their past, present, […]