About the Lab for Social Design

Hi, Welcome. The site combines LabforSocialDesign.com and codesignresearch.com.
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The Lab for Social Design at Design School Kolding (DSKD) is a vibrant and cross-disciplinary home for a broad group of designers and design researchers that work with many different tasks. The group (15-20 people) is international with people originally coming from Ireland, Austria, Turkey, Lithuania and Denmark.

The Lab for Social Design contributions to the design educational programs at DSKD is extensive. People are presently involved in teaching in the BA-educations (both in relation to common courses across the four BA-programs, and more dedicated program specific courses especially in relation to the BA-programs Industrial Design, Accessory Design, and Communication Design, Textile and Fashion Design), the MA program Design for People, the Diploma in Design Management, the Master’s program in Design Management (continuous education together with SDU), and in tailor made courses for specific external partners.


The ambition for Lab for Social Design is to attain an established reputation internationally as hosting a transdisciplinary and high-profile MA-program Design for People firmly supported by a sharp social design Research & KUV program that attracts both MA- and research students internationally.

The Lab for Social Design serves as a catalyst for cultural and social change. It is a well-known and acknowledged open learning platform for exchange that contribute to creating an open school where design students and lab members design and facilitate change processes in close collaboration with various actors outside the school on designing better, more sustainable and inclusive futures by engaging with complex social and societal matters of concern.

As a lighthouse for social design/social innovation, the Lab for Social Design imagines, visualizes and explores possible socially sustainable futures that supports people in exercising their full potential as creative beings. The (re)imagined possible futures builds upon contemporary everyday life. These are explored in situ in real life engagements in close collaboration with people and private and/or public organizations that it affects within a specific field or context.

The Lab for Social Design develops aesthetic and ethically sound proposals that are continuously co-created and co-designed using the three overall strategies which support an iterative design process based upon democratic design experiments: exploratory inquiry, sustained participation and generative prototyping.

The Lab for Social Design has profound knowledge and a deep understanding of participatory and co-design practices which can effectively evoke past experiences and generate ideas for the world of tomorrow. In combination the various methods, techniques and toolboxes provide critical and fresh views on current issues, and invite creativity, diversity, divergent opinions and controversies in order to co-design and imagine better possible futures.

Research and teaching at DSKD

Since 2016 Design School Kolding has gone through a process where the Scientific Research Department has been gradually abolished and the scientific research activities have been moved into the three laboratories (Lab for Social Design, Lab for Sustainability and Design, and lab for Play and Design) which simultaneously has become the overall strategic direction for the school. This strategic choice has been manifested through the introduction of three international and completely new Master programs in Design: Design for People, Design for Planet, and Design for Play.

The scientific head of Lab for Social Design is professor Eva Brandt (brandt [at] dskd.dk]. People in Lab for Social Design and their contact information can be found here

The scientific head of Lab for Sustainability and Design is professor Thomas Binder (tb [at ] dskd.dk) . People in Lab for Sustainability and Design and their contact information can be found here

The scientific head of Lab for Play and Design is professor (MSO) Helle Marie Skovbjerg (skovbjerg [ at ] dskd.dk. People in Lab for Play and Design and their contact information can be found here

BLOG HISTORY: About the Codesign Research Centere at KADK (2011 – 2019)

The Codesign Research Centre (CODE) at KADK (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Design and Conservation) closed in the spring 2019 after eight years. In order not to loose track of the history and achievements it will be kept alive here. Codesign and coproduction is rapidly spreading in e.g. product design, communications design and environmental design. Traditional design fields have to be re-thought and new venues for the designer are opening up, as designers have to engage in open collaborations with a network of non-designers. We call this design (research) profile, codesign.

IMG_0467Informal seminar at The Codesign Research Center (CODE): international visiting researchers exchange perspectives with faculty, doctoral and graduate students.  

Codesign is short for collaborative design. Codesign is a critical investigation of new possibilities, where diverse partners are actively involved in material dialogues about what constitutes attractive futures from different points of view. Codesign is transdisciplinary in addressing complex problems where no single discipline can be said to hold the answer. Codesign builds on traditions of user-centered design, participatory design, critical design and ethnography.

The overall objective for Center for Research in Codesign, CODE is both to produce new knowledge about how design work is conduced in practice, and to contribute to a continuous improvement of the field through developing and exploring different approaches, methods and tools for co-designing where the knowledge of the participants are brought into play and various activities simultaneously support mutual learning processes for all involved.

Central in our practice is various experimental oriented research approaches that both investigate existing practice and explore new possibilities by for instance staging processes where the participants ‘rehearse the future’. New knowledge is produced through interplay between people and artifacts in specific contexts. CODE integrates knowledge from research domains like participatory design, design anthropology, science and technology studies, performance studies and interaction design.

With a range of external partners CODE has explored a number of longitudinal project themes, addressing complex societal issues such as recycling & waste handling, living with Alzheimer’s, and urban service networks for active senior citizens.

Former associates at CODE

Eva Brandt, Professor, Ph.D.
Eva is now professor in Social Design at Design School Kolding.

Eva Brandt is Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, and holds a Ph.D from 2001. Eva is co-leading the Center for Research in Codesign (CODE). Since January 2017 she has been responsible for a two year international MA-program in codesign. For years Eva has argued for the power of event driven design processes guided by a series of collaborative events. Focus has been on both how each event should be staged and performed, and how to create continuity among events. In recent years we have come to describe the overall design approach as design laboratories hereby putting emphasis on inquiry and knowledge production. Design laboratories are platforms for open collaborations among many stakeholders in the sense that the outcome is not predefined in the outset. We have argued for the importance of staging, evoking and enacting in relation to participation. On a more overall level we argue for organizing projects around three main strategies: exploratory inquiry, sustained participation, and generative prototyping. Eva also contributes to theorizing about experimental design research driven by programs and experiments. She has been contributing to several books such as Design Spaces (IT Press, 2005), Rehearsing the Future (The Danish Design School Press, 2010), XLAB (The Danish Design School Press, 2011), Facilitating Change – Using Interactive Methods in Organizations, Communities and Networks (Polyteknisk Forlag, 2011), and Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (Routledge, 2013), Dansk Design Nu (Strandberg Publishing, 2016), Practice Based Design Research (Bloomsbury, 2017. She has been chairing the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2013. Find overview of publications at: Research Gate: Research Gate personal profile for Eva Brandt

Thomas Binder, Professor, Ph.D.  ThomasB

Thomas is now professor in design and sustainability at Design School Kolding.

Forskningsområde: Åbne designprocesser med mange deltagere, med særlig vægt på undersøgelser af hvordan designere kan arbejde med metoder og arbejdsformer, der baserer sig på dialog med brug og brugere. Nye projektformater der, under overskriften Design:Lab, sætter det udforskende møde mellem forskellige interessenter i centrum for en bruger-orienteret designproces. Designspil, improviserede scenarier og involverende undersøgelser af hverdagspraksis baseret bl.a. på video, der understøtter designorienteret dialog. Relationer mellem design og brug og specielt undersøgelser af, hvordan designpraksis og hverdagspraksis vekselvirker og udfolder sig i et dynamisk samspil mellem ting, rum og aktivitet. Metodisk vægtning af eksperimenterende designforskning inspireret af aktionsforskning, hvor konkrete designeksperimenter veksler med sociologisk orienteret dokumentation og analyse.

Mette Agger Eriksen, Associate professor, Ph.D.                             Mette Agger Eriksen_KADK_image_300dpi_grey

Mette is still affiliated at KADK.

Mail: meri [at] kadk.dk

My research interests are practice-oriented and concern the emergence of co-designerly experimental design (research) practices with special attention to the situated, roles of materials and aims of sustainable change. Since 2001 I have actively engaged in exploring, understanding and formatting such practices across domains such as healthcare, learning environments, waste handling, libraries, IT and landscape architecture, municipal urban planning practices towards sustainable change, urban (innovation) labs etc. I have extensive experiences of engaging in cross-disciplinary European and Scandinavian research projects, and received several awards for some of these collective research efforts. In the coming years, I further aim to focus on revitalizing mutual learning as a core part of dealing with challenges of integrating new (co)designerly co-production practices in the public sector. I originally have a Master in Architecture from the School of Architecture in Aarhus with specialization in user-centred collaborative (industrial) communication design. I have been employed at KADK and with CODE since Dec. 2016. Yet, as a part of my doctoral studies between 2006-10 I was partly engaged in developing experimental design research environments at the Danish Centre of Design Research through the XLab-project, and at the Danish Design School/CODE I engaged in the DAIM project. Otherwise, previously I worked at several universities but mostly at K3, Malmö University in Sweden, where I did my doctoral and postdoc studies within interaction design, public innovation and participatory/co-design. In terms of teaching I have many years of experience of developing and teaching in topics such as interaction design, co-design, service design, design processes, experimental design (research) practices etc. At KADK I am mostly engaged in the continuing education programmes e.i. Master in Design and Diploma in Design Management as well as new modules and courses around leadership in service-oriented co-production and co-design. At MA level I teach on the joint programme with CBS entitled “Strategic Design & Entrepreneurship”, and at Ph.d. level I am responsible for a course in “Research-through-Design”.

Sissel Olander, Associate professor, Ph.D.

Sissel is still affiliated at KADK.

Mail: sol [at] kadk.dk
Mit erhvervsPhd-projekt og postdoc var samarbejder mellem Københavns Kommune og Danmarks Designskole. Phd-projektet handler om netværksbaseret innovation i og omkring Kulturstationen Vanløse, Kulturanstalten Vesterbro/Kgs Enghave og Kulturdiagonalen Bispebjerg/Nordvest. Der blev afprøvet, udviklet og undersøgt som del af Netværkslaboratoriet som platform for co-design og lokal netværksudvikling i de tre kulturenheder. Særlige faglige fokusområder: Participatory design, STS/ANT, Performance studies, Demokratiseringsstartegier, Design som mobilisering.

Li Jönsson, Ph.D.

Li is now affiliated at Malmö University:

Li Jönsson has an interdisciplinary approach to design that engages with a diverse set of critical and practical ideas. A recurrent theme in her concept-driven work has poetic and theatrical ideals. She has exhibited her personal projects several times (Super Design Market, Max Fraser, DDW-07, RSVP London, New Designers, Pearlfisher, Free Range, Goldsmiths design etc). Her PhD work is focused on finding new ways of engaging people in potential serious issues by rethinking how values are embodied in products, since they influence beliefs as well as behaviours. Li Jonsson graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London (First). She has also studied at Leeds College of Art & Design as well as K3- Malmö Högskola.


Joachim Halse, Associate professor, Ph.D.

Joachim is now at Leardal.com

Min forskning ligger i spændingsfeltet mellem antropologi og design. Jeg eksperimenterer med at skabe en frugtbar hybrid mellem antropologiske undersøgelser af hverdagsliv på den ene side og designmæssig udforskning af nye muligheder på den anden. Det er min ambition at bidrage til en decideret designantropologisk praksis hvor “det eksisterende” udforskes gennem søgen efter nye muligheder, i stedet for at foretage disse to bevægelser hver for sig.

Maria Foverskov, Ph.d-studerende, Industriel Designer
Mail: mfo [at] kadk.dk
Med arbejdstitlen ”at øve sig på at forme fremtiden” undersøger og afprøver jeg redskaber, metoder og processer for at inddrage interessenter som aktive medspillere og “formgivere” I co-design processer. Jeg tager udgangspunkt i min baggrund som designer og undersøger hvordan ”design redskaber” som eksempelvis prototyping og scenarie skabelse kan blive del af en fælles formgivning, hvor også ikke-designere former udviklingsprocessen. Som en del af senior Interaktions projektet undersøger jeg hvordan sociale medier og teknologi kan understøtte ældre borgeres egne sociale netværk. Vi arbejder med en række samarbejdspartnere som Københavns kommune, IT universitetet, samt private service- og teknologi-udbydere.


Paya Hauch Fenger, Afsluttet Erhvervs Phd-studerende, Cand. Mag i internationale udviklingsstudier og psykologi.

Den eksperimenterende tilgang inden for designaktivisme og co-design er omdrejningspunktet i min forskning. Min case er en samskabende konstruktion af Geopark Festival 2014, der blev konstrueret i en samskabende proces mellem flere hundrede aktive deltagere og mig som co-designforsker. Gennem dette eksperiment, undersøger jeg hvordan aktivisme og co-designmetoder kan øge borgernes handlerum i en rural kontekst. Samtidig interesserer det mig at undersøge, hvordan brugen af co-designmetoder fører til meningsdannelse, konstruktion af identitet og sted/rum, igennem de handlinger der udspiller sig i workshops og konstruktionen af 1:1 prototyper (festivalen). Særligt har jeg fokus på hvordan co-designet af festivalen, har indflydelse på deltagernes egen forståelse af sig selv i den kontekst, de er en del af. Ligeledes er jeg særligt optaget af hvordan kort (maps) kan bruges som co-designredskab i konstruktionen af en geopark. Endelig undersøger jeg hvordan min rolle som designforsker har betydning for graden af oplevet ligeværdighed hos den enkelte deltager, og hvordan netop denne oplevet ligeværdighed har betydning for borgerens ønske om at deltage. 

Christina Lundsgaard, Ph.D, Arkitekt

Nu ansat hos SKAT. Som del af co-designklyngen beskæftiger jeg mig med design som en social proces, hvor involvering af potentielle brugere og andre interessenter kan være med til at skabe innovation. Jeg har særlig vægt på at undersøge hvordan konfigurerbare elementer og rekvisitter i f.eks designspil kan åbne op for en fælles dialog om fremtidige muligheder. Jeg har en interesse i at se på hvordan co-design processen kan tages videre fra forestillingerne om nye arbejdspladser i udviklingsprocessen til at blive en ”ongoing” design proces, der stadig lever, når rum og inventar tages i brug. Her fokuserer jeg på hvordan adaptive og konfigurerbare møbler og inventar kan bliver openended designprodukter, der har forskellige anvendelsesmuligheder og kan tilpasses de forandringsprocesser arbejdspladser ofte oplever over tid. Forskningen tager udgangspunkt i min baggrund som arkitekt/designer og jeg anskuer forskningen som en designproces, der kan være ”maskinen” eller metoden til at producere ny viden inden for mine særlige fokusområder.

Rasmus Michaëlis, research assistant, cand. design.rasmus
Mail: rasmusmichaelis [at] gmail.com
I have a background in both graphic design and codesign with a BA in visual communication and a MA in design from the new Codesign Master Programme at KADK. As a result, visual communication is a key part of my practice – but instead of the classical focus within graphic design towards creating compelling or persuasive design my interest lies within creating evocative design in both digital, print and film as scaffolds for dialogue. At CODE I work as a research assistent the project Give&Take – a 3-year EU funded research project on sharing networks among senior citizens. See http://www.givetake.eu

Lene Hald, afsluttet PhD student

  • and many other visiting scholars throughout the years.


Our research projects are always carried out in collaboration with public institutions and NGOs, private companies and design consultancies. Some of our partners have been: Vestforbrænding I/S, Copenhagen Municipality, Arkitema, 1508, 3PART, Mindlab, Workz, Designit, Johnson & Johnson, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, IT-University Copenhagen, The Danish Technical University, Copenhagen University, /KL7, Wonderful Copenhagen, Miljøpunkt Østerbro, Alzheimerforeningen, MAKE TOOLS, SWECO/FFNS, Ergonomidesign/Veryday, Frederiksberg Municipality, Take the Wind, UNDP, GN Resound.

One comment

  1. Mahendra

    Dear sir,
    I would like to join art classes specifically sculpture art from my childhood but due to the financial problem in my family I just finished my intermediate in 2008 and join my bachelor but I can’t continue my study due to the financial conditions the in 2012 I went to qatar for a security officer job 2 years and in dubai for 2 years now I think If some one help me from there i can join my art college there.

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