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DDes Annual Symposium for Design Research

The Doctor of Design (DDes) program hosts an annual symposium focused on design research. World-renowned thought leaders are invited as keynote speakers. Each symposium features a central theme pertinent to design and invites keynote speakers, panelists and doctoral students to explore the topic.

2023: Data Driven: Design Research for Collaborative Futures

image representing artificial intelligence

To welcome our newest DDes Cohort of outstanding student-practitioners, we mark the sixth anniversary of the program and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the College of Design. 

In 2023, the Doctor of Design (DDes) program is excited to partner with students in the Ph.D. program in Design, to present this milestone event—Data-Driven: Design Research for Collaborative Futures. We are interested in the impact of new data sources design analytics on social and personal technology(s), professional expertise, and, of course, research in design.

Please save the date:

Friday, August 18, 2023
9:00 am – 1:30 pm
Virtual Meeting

Helen Armstrong, professor of graphic & experience design, will open the symposium with a keynote address titled: Augment/ Interrogate: The Critical Intersection of A.I. and Design. She will be joined by respondent Tania Allen, professor of media arts, design and technology. 

The keynote will be followed by two doctoral student-powered panels: 

I. Panel One on Consideration of How Ethics and Data Inform Design will be moderated by Dr. Sharon Joines, associate dean for academic strategy. Doctoral students joining this panel include Meghan Bausone (Doctor of Design), Ashley Beatty (PhD in Design), Sana Behnam Asl (PhD in Design), Melissa Eggleston (Doctor of Design) and Raunak Mahtani (PhD in Design).

II. Panel Two on Environmental Data, Eco-precarity, & Climate Design will be moderated by Dr. Traci Rider, university scholar & associate professor of architecture. Doctoral students joining this panel include Hannah Dankbar (PhD in Design), Astrid Haryati (Doctor of Design), Liz McCormick (PhD in Design) and Mike Ortosky (Doctor of Design).

We encourage our traditional design partners and anyone interested in the future of design to attend this transdisciplinary event, including graduate students, faculty, design practitioners, and business professionals.

Past Research Symposia:

Browse symposia topics and presentations from past years.

2022: Design Futures and Foresighting

This virtual DDes Symposium begins with the big picture—Design Futures—and what that may mean for technology, business strategy, identity, and research in design.

Keynote Presentation:

Gjoko Muratovski, noted thought leader in graphic design and design research, will open the Symposium with a keynote address on Design Today, with a response from Meredith Davis addressing doctoral education in design.  

Panel I: Professional Identity, Authenticity, and Access to Design Futures

  • Moderator: Lu Liu (Professor and Head of Graphic Design and Industrial Design, NC State University
  • Panelists:
    • Tasheka Arcenaux-Sutton, Graphic Design, NC State University
    • Kaleena Sales, Chair of Art & Design, Tennessee State University

Panel II: Strategic Design Leadership: How Design Practice Meets the Future

  • Moderator: Katherine Peele (Leaders Council and LS3P Associates)
  • Panelists:
    • Jason Forney, Principal at Bruner/Cott Architects
    • Wendy Steinle
Upali Nanda
Upali Nanda, HKS

2021: Inclusion in Design Research

First Session: What (and Who) Does Design History Include? 

by J. Dakota Brown, Art Institute of Chicago

The past generation has seen profound shifts in design process and practices—ranging from analog to digital techniques, and from autonomous to networked practices, as well as in the relationships between designers, clients, manufacturers/construction and marketplace/end users.  This session prepares students to understand the values of inclusivity in the evolution of design practices and its potential impact for future design industry enterprises.

Second Session: Authorship, Agency, Ability and Inclusion 

by Upali Nanda, HKS

In a research-integrated design practice, research is both assessed and translated in the course of the design process. The practical value proposition of applied research is apparent but needs to be balanced with the business realities of firms This session will demonstrate how inclusivity in professional research offers a smarter way for firms to do good design and also strengthen their bottom line. 

Third Session: Power + Place 

by Bryan Lee, Colloquate

Increasingly, artists and designers across many disciplines are paying attention to racial equity and social justice in both private and public commissions. This session will discuss elements of complexity, advocacy, and multi-racial inclusion in design practice as a form of Design Justice.

Ellen Lupton
Ellen Lupton. Photo by Hieu Tran

2020: Design Thinking in Health / Thinking Health in Design

Panel 1 – Design Thinking in Health

The morning began with moderated Panel #1 “Design Thinking in Health.”

Dr. Matt Trowbridge, Dr. Bon Ku, and Jacqui McLaughlin spoke for about 10-12 minutes each followed by Q&A.

Moderator: Tsailu Liu, Department Head of Graphic Design and Industrial Design, NC State College of Design

Keynote Presentation

Design for Everybody: Creative Ideas for Wellness and Inclusion by Ellen Lupton

Panel 2: Thinking Health in Design

Panel #2 is a flip of the first panel along the lines of “Thinking Health in Design,” or how we should be thinking about health in the design fields.

Michael Grove, Jessica Bellamy, and Myron Floyd spoke for about 10-12 minutes each followed by Q&A.

Moderator: David Hill, School of Architecture Head, NC State College of Design

Success After Failure

2019: Success After Failure: Designing Through Challenges

Panel Session 1: Service Design: Social Innovation Strategies for Change

Moderator: Kevin Fitzgerald, former chief of staff for UNC System, UNC Health Care & School of Medicine, and Director of Social Services NC-HHS

Speakers: Dana Weston, UNC Rockingham Health Care and Patrick McGowan, the Service Design Group

Panel Session 2: Place Making: Spatial and Environmental Design Strategies for Change

Moderator: Katherine Peele, LS3P

Speakers: Scott Levitan, RTP Foundation and Paul Morris, FASLA, CEO & Mission Maker, MCP

Kofi Boone and Lee Cherry

2018:  Innovation in Research, Design & Education

Keynote Address: Innovation in Research, Design & Education

Tom Miller, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach & Entrepreneurship

Panel: Transformative Practices – Design Research in Action

  • Aly Khalifa, [DB] designbox | Oceanworks
  • Lesley-Ann Noel, College of Design | D-School, Stanford
  • Karen Lewis, Ohio State University | Karen Lewis Design