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Contexts

Design at Lancaster actively responds to rapid changes in technology, complex societal challenges and the pressing need for new ways of thinking about the world. We foreground the designer’s ability to engage with the most difficult of problems, bringing individual and collective creativity together to propose and test new ways forward.

Closely linked to ImaginationLancaster, an exploratory design-led research centre at Lancaster University, our team enables people and organisations to engage with academia in dynamic and creative ways, giving time and space to imagine and explore possible futures.

Tong Lo: 'Home' - Designing an alternative housing model to help the homeless live, work and be active in their community'.
Tong Lo: 'Home' - Designing an alternative housing model to help the homeless live, work and be active in their community'.
Tong Lo: 'Home' - Designing an alternative housing model to help the homeless live, work and be active in their community'.
Kate Chernysheva: 'Little Big Steps'- Designing an intergenerational community daycare leisure centre.
Kate Chernysheva: 'Little Big Steps'- Designing an intergenerational community daycare leisure centre.
Kate Chernysheva: 'Little Big Steps'- Designing an intergenerational community daycare leisure centre.
Emma Quinn: 'RPR MCR' - Designing a space to repair depression and improve wellbeing in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Emma Quinn: 'RPR MCR' - Designing a space to repair depression and improve wellbeing in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Emma Quinn: 'RPR MCR' - Designing a space to repair depression and improve wellbeing in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Devika Sharma: 'The Doorway Project' - Designing a space to employ and empower ex-offenders, and exhibit their talents.
Devika Sharma: 'The Doorway Project' - Designing a space to employ and empower ex-offenders, and exhibit their talents.
Devika Sharma: 'The Doorway Project' - Designing a space to employ and empower ex-offenders, and exhibit their talents.
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Design Interactions Studio: Context

What happens when the digital collapses into our physical world? How will this convergence transform our environments and everyday lives? How might we use this to address the challenges that face our world in the 21st century? Contexts studio uses design methods to explore speculative futures of urban environments in order to create positive change for people and the planet.

Following an initial phase of exploring different theories, concepts and ideas, applied to a variety of contexts and ‘wicked problems’, we developed our main projects in response to an area of Manchester, known as the Northern Quarter. Despite considerable regeneration and gentrification over the last three decades, this area faces some major challenges, especially social ones. We first conducted site analyses to better understand this specific context. We then investigated particular challenges, such as homelessness and greening the city, that were relevant to the context and looked for positive interventions from beyond Manchester’s borders. From there, we designed physical and digital interventions that proposed radical and innovative solutions within the contemporary city. Our interventions sought to address key social and technological issues through inclusive design strategies. Through these projects, we developed a critical understanding of urban futures and the role that creative responses to ‘wicked problems’ can provide, which promote social innovation, positive behaviours and greater access to resources that everyone needs.

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LICA 2020