Call for papers: Who cares?


I love the title ‘Who cares?’ It makes you think and that is what research conferences are all about. The 8th Nordic Design Research Society (NORDES) conference is in the making. It is time to think about and make contributions (full papers, exploratory papers, workshops, doctoral consortium). This time the conference is hosted at Aalto University, Espoo, Finland and it takes place 3.-4


Who cares?

This question is a provocation for design research. What do, or should, we care about in design and design research today? The 8th biennial NORDES conference poses the question, “Who cares?”, exploring related questions, issues and propositions concerning responsibilities, relationships, ways of doing and directing design today.

The conference takes place at a time of great challenges and transitions in many of our societies. The consequences of climate change are becoming everyday reality for many, and sustainability is increasingly an issue for design institutions to frame and value in relation to other fundamental subjects. Diversity, equality and justice are matters of increasing public (as well as personal and community) attention and concern, and we continue to struggle with how to address this in societal and institutional structures, policies and daily interactions. European and Nordic countries are transforming in socio-economic terms as previous values, economies and systems of social welfare are being restructured and redistributed in various ways. At this time of socio-ecological challenges and transitions, it is time for design research to engage with such questions from the inside (from within design practices, scholarship and institutions) and outside-in (through dialog, interaction and knowledge production with others, including other disciplines).

In the 2019 NORDES conference, we draw inspiration from notions of care as a lens through which to reflect upon and critique as well as potentially to refocus and redirect design and design research. Care might be understood in relation to philosophical lines of inquiry in other disciplines exploring theories, politics and ethics of care. Care might be understood concretely in relation to the ideals and infrastructures of welfare and healthcare systems, or service interactions. Care might be understood personally as a mindset seeking out what is meaningful for people, and for life, and with design as reflective and skilled action concerned with improving things and preferred situations.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • The who in care? Care, relations, empathy and what comes next
  • Care (in)action? Encounters, systems and institutions of care, welfare, healthcare
  • How to care? Care and care-ful materials, methods and processes in design and design research
  • Care, where? Design and peripheries, identities, minorities and commonalities
  • Care ethos and ethics? Purposes, philosophies and responsibilities in/of design

The submission categories include:

  • Full papers
  • Exploratory papers (short)
  • Workshops
  • Doctoral Consortium

Key dates

15 Jan 2019 Deadline for submissions

10 March 2019 Notification to the authors

5 April 2019 Final versions of papers

3-4 Jun 2019 Conference


Full call is at

Learn about previous NORDES conferences and find papers at


Tuuli Mattelmäki, Aalto University,
Ramia Mazé, Aalto University,
Satu Miettinen, University of Lapland,

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