Design Anthropology

As a transdisciplinary area of research and practice, Design Anthropology is not located in any one field or area of expertise, but is representative of a whole spectrum of diverse relationships that have historically formed between the fields of design and anthropology, as well as other intersecting fields. This group was formed to follow these broader fields, subfields, and their relationships as a transdisciplinary epistemological construct of design anthropology along a spectrum within four specific quadrants: anthropology relevant to design, anthropology of design, design of anthropology, and anthropological design. Situating these many meanings of design anthropology as holistically constitutive of it in the gestaltic sense.

As a transdisciplinary, collaborative, and still contested field, the objective of this group is to raise public awareness of the diversity of research and practice and their related themes that consistently cluster as a design anthropological discourse. It is one of the only spaces on the internet where this diversity of research and practice is actively organized collectively as design anthropology. Making resources more accessible to those across the spectrum in order to:

1. Establish and explore how Design Anthropology fits into or supplements the varied practices and objectives of design (including and across commercial design, speculative design, critical design, design fiction, transition design, ecological design, social design, decolonized design, sustainable design, participatory design, co-design, etc.), anthropology, futures studies, STS, and society writ large.

2. Contribute to the development and evolution of a more inclusive and holistic pedagogy of design anthropology.

3. Open up a dialogue between designers, anthropologists, researchers, engineers and potential clients leading to greater participation, adoption, and even new collaborative partnerships.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: Oct 18

Video Presentations On Design Anthropology

Design Anthropology: A new style of research and action by Ton Otto:

Interactive Exhibitions at The Design Anthopological Futures Conference:

Video Stream of Design Anthropological Futures Conference:

Research Network for Design Anthropology (2014-2015):

Discussion Forum

Anthropology + Design Graduate Seminar @ The New School | Fall 2019 | Shannon Mattern

"Designers commonly use ethnographic methods, and social scientists often adopt design practices, economies, cultures, and artifacts as their subjects of study, focusing in particular on how design…Continue

Started by Brandon Meyer Aug 24.

Speculative Futures Slack Group

The Speculative Futures Slack Group is quickly becoming a great virtual meeting place for those interested in the…Continue

Started by Brandon Meyer Jul 20.

Personal Introduction

I have worked as a web and graphic designer and was originally a multimedia design major before deciding to transfer to anthropology with the goal of advancing to design anthropology. Since my time…Continue

Started by Brandon Meyer Feb 25, 2014.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 5:08pm

"This issue of Diseña aims to contribute, from a very applied perspective, to the discussion about the role that ‘matters of concern’ could have in design research, thus adding to a growing body of work: “In recent years, a small but active part of design literature has investigated the role of matters of concern in the design process” (Menéndez-Blanco & De Angeli, 2016, pp. 227). Basically, ‘matters of concern’ arise in contrast to ‘matters of fact’. Bruno Latour (2004) proposed this category after finding that, if we analyze reality only from the perspective of the facts, the only thing we achieve is access to partial and simplified information. Thus, we not only impoverish reality, but we also leave a whole rich dimension out of our studies (Latour, 2004). Therefore, a shift was required to allow us to account for social reality as we experience it, with all its complexities and contradictions, that could also account for its unfinished, situated, controversial, mediated and procedural character."

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:53pm

"A Digital Tomorrow" is a design fiction video produced for Curious Rituals. This research project was about gestures, postures and digital rituals that typically emerged with the use of digital technologies:

A Digital Tomorrow from Nicolas Nova on Vimeo.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:46pm

The Papanek Symposium 2019, September 26–27, organised by Alison J. Clarke and Francisco Laranjo in partnership with the Porto Design Biennale, debates both the future, and the future of design: the places, ideas and means by which the politics of design, and the design of politics come together. Speakers include Ramia Mazé, Flavia Dzodan, Akwugo Emejulu, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Ahmed Ansari, Cameron Tonkinwise and Annelys de Vet. A series of workshops and open forums will be led by the Decolonising Design Group.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:44pm

Journal of Futures Studies Special Issue: Design and Futures (Vol. I and 2) "Designers and futurists, it turns out, have a great deal in common. This mutual recognition is reaching critical mass as each comes to appreciate how their respective traditions have much to offer to making urgent change in the world, and even more so, together... ‘Design and futures’ together offer ecosystemic and embodied approaches to shaping our collective prospects, informed by a diverse range of practices. We are excited to have been working with the Journal of Futures Studies over several years to bring readers a special double issue dedicated to ‘Design and Futures'."

Vol 1:

Vol 2:

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:42pm

"Discursive Design: Critical, Speculative and Alternative things is a collection of design projects that indicate an emerging paradigm of a more philosophical approach to design. Design practice is no longer only about the commercial production of objects and tools. Nor is it just a 'thinking methodology' for improving businesses or creating brand strategies. With a philosophical edge, these new strands of design don’t aim to improve anything commercial, rather, they allow space for an audience to speculate and reflect on complex socio-cultural issues in an engaging way. Put simply, design for discourse, is the main behavioural effect that 'discursive' designers intend to communicate to an audience... Born from a need to account and create distinctions for these new roles in design, Bruce and Stephanie Tharp have published Discursive Design: Critical, Speculative and Alternative things as a way of collecting and establishing a framework for understanding these new types of design."

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:40pm

"Critical design, speculative design and design fiction are methodological frameworks in which objects are seen as facilitators of conversations rather than goods to be bought or used... In the last decade, an impressive creative effort has been dedicated to this field, producing countless scenarios and fostering rich debates about ethics, technology and society. The vast majority of these future visions were and still are, however, a representation of the fears and the dreams of a limited part of the global community. Further, the aesthetic of this work has drawn liberally from the Hollywood imaginary or the design establishment’s style. The Global Futures Lab is a series of international workshops that aims to counteract the bias and stereotypes of so-called 'Western futures' and foster different futures linked to specific geo-cultural locations."

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:40pm

Very excited to see Parson's New School for Social Research launch a new course, Anthropology and Design: Objects, Sites, Systems. I've been writing to Dr. Shannon Mattern about the readings and some of the issues around the subject. I personally would rearrange some of the required/supplemental readings but I'm positive that it is one of the most extensive courses covering the broad topic of "design (and) anthropology" in the U.S. to date.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:39pm

"A Handbook On Ethnographic Futures Research" circa 1980 available for download:

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 17, 2019 at 4:38pm

Is human sociality being engineered and patented?

"The artist Paolo Cirio's Sociality project aggregates and sorts tech patents to reveal thousands of technologies that conceal the social control, manipulation, and surveillance at play on the Internet... The 20,000 patents featured in Sociality deal with technologies firmly entrenched in the cultural zeitgeist. Tools related to things like social bubbles, bias in AI, corporate surveillance, invasions of privacy, and the behavior modification and tech addiction... As an artistic provocation, it proposes the oversight, flagging, and banning of socially harmful inventions that employ devious psychological and profiling tactics... everyone is able to browse, search, submit, and rate patents by their titles, images of flowcharts, and the companies that created them."

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 16, 2019 at 9:22pm

Syllabus for "Worlds," a course taught by Ahmed Ansari of the decolonising design group at Carnegie Mellon University (with links to reading materials):



OAC Press



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