This project was done in collaboration with design fiction studio Imagination of Things and  is the result of a six months research project for my master’s thesis on Strategic Product Design at TU Delft.

You can have a look at the full thesis here.

Project Context

Speculative design is an approach that, through speculation into the possible, aims to challenge the status quo, explore the implications of emerging issues, and frame debate around matters of concern [1].

While the goal of speculative design is in engaging publics in debate and exploring alternatives to the dominant narrative, the practise has been facing several critiques. More specifically, speculation as remained exclusive to the designer as an author [2] and most of the work is disseminated in gallery spaces, limiting the reach and depth of the debates generated [3].

However, new projects and practitioners have emerged that push speculative design work into new contexts and within a participatory mindset. The goal is in “democratising the future” and bringing speculative design to new contexts [4]. This thesis is placed at this intersection between participation and speculative design. The main research question addressed by this thesis is the following:

When we open up the speculative design process, is the practise able to retain the critical aspects related to it?

The final outcome showcased in this website is the result of eight semi-structured interviews with leading practitioners working on this space.

--- --- ---

[1]  Auger, J. (2012). Why Robot? Speculative Design, the Domestication of Technology and the Considered FutureDunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming. The MIT Press.
Haylock, B. (2018). What is critical design? In G. Coombs, A. McNamara, & G. Sade (Eds.), Undesign (1st ed., pp. 9–23). Routledge.

[2]  Bowen, S., (2010). Critical Theory and Participatory Design. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’10. ACM, 10-15.
Prado O. Martins, L. (2014). Privilege and Oppression: Towards a Feminist Speculative Design. DRS 2014: Design’s Big Debates.
Ward, M. (2019). Critical about Critical and Speculative Design. Speculative Edu. LINK

[3]  DiSalvo, C. (2009). Design and the Construction of Publics. Design  Issues, 25(1), 48–63.
Malpass, M. (2012). Contextualising Critical Design: Towards a Taxonomy of Critical Practice in Product Design

[4]  An example of this can be seen in the the work of the Extrapolation Factory.
Project by Pedro Gil Farias, 2020. Running on cargo