Things we could design for more than human-centered worlds: Ron Wakkary & Peter-Paul Verbeek in conversation

Join Ron Wakkary and Peter-Paul Verbeek in a conversation about Wakkary’s book “Things We Could Design For More Than Human-Centered Worlds”



Due to unforeseen circumstances Prof. Paul Dourish is unfortunately unable to join the book launch. We are grateful to Prof. Peter-Paul Verbeek for accepting our invitation to continue the conversation.

Over the past forty years, designers have privileged human values such that human-centered design is seen as progressive. Yet because all that is not human has been depleted, made extinct, or put to human use, today’s design contributes to the existential threat of climate change and the ongoing extinctions of other species. In Things We Could Design (MIT Press, 2021), Ron Wakkary argues that human-centered design is not the answer to our problems but is itself part of the problem. Drawing on philosophy, design theory, and numerous design works, he shows the way to a relational and expansive design based on humility and cohabitation. Wakkary says that design can no longer ignore its exploitation of nonhuman species and the materials we mine for and reduce to human use. Posthumanism, he argues, enables a rethinking of design that displaces the human at the centre of thought and action. Weaving together posthumanist philosophies with design, he describes what he calls things—nonhumans made by designers—and calls for a commitment to design with more than human participation. Wakkary also focuses on design as “nomadic practices”—a multiplicity of intentionalities and situated knowledges that shows design to be expansive and pluralistic. He calls his overall approach “designing-with”: the practice of design in a world in which humans share centre stage with nonhumans, and in which we are bound together materially, ethically, and existentially.

Join us for a conversation between Ron Wakkary and Peter-Paul Verbeek as we celebrate the publication of this exciting new book.

The event is finished.


Oct 07 2021


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

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