The third seminar in the series Hundred years of design and democracy is taking place Wednesday September 29th 2021. The centre piece is the political, in design, as well as how design is part of the political. What are the connections?




In a representative democracy, who is invited in designing policy and public services. The role of our elected representatives as well as the public servants changes when new formats for citizen engagement are created within, and outside, the institutions of democracy.

As a consequence, the question of how society creates the time and energy to be put into working with marginalized groups, changes character. The design of policy, as a consequence of politics, creates structures that are including and excluding. Where, then , lies the responsibility to counter marginalisation?

- Our practices and systems often privilege educated, literate extroverts, even when we call for marginalised people to participate in design processes, says Emma Blomkamp

Another theme connects to the heritage within design regarding how design rearranges power and mandate. Western ideals and worldviews are embedded in this heritage, and embodied in design practices. These are sometimes at odds with societal ideals that have other foundational structures for mandate, and worldviews that builds on values beyond the humanistic.

These are themes that will be touched upon by the panel under moderation of Dan Hill, Vinnova. Each panelist will also give a short presentation on their position vis-à-vis the general theme.


Emma Blomkamp is a facilitator committed to co-creating compassionate systems. She has a PhD in urban cultural policy and continues to collaborate on academic research and publications on policy design and public innovation as an Honorary Fellow at The University of Melbourne and Research Associate at Charles Stuart University

Pelle Ehn is professor emeritus from Malmö University with a long career within design as and in democratization, from the workplace to the public.

Vanessa Rodrigues has a PhD in design from Linköping University, and is currently sharing her time between a research position at LiU and a position at Samordningsförbundet Centrala Östergötland

Tristan Schultz is Founder and Co-Director of Relative Creative, strategic design agency. He is currently an Honorary Adjunct Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney and Honorary Principal Research Fellow at RMIT, Melbourne. He is one of seven international comrades in the Decolonising Design Group

Moderator: Dan Hill, Vinnova

The seminar series is arranged by Linköping University in collaboration with SVIDSvenska designsällskapet and Svensk Form.

More information about the seminar series “A hundred years of design and democracy”

Translated by George Farrants