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The Covid-19 crisis and the designed interventions that the authors have catalogued in this book prove definitively that design does care. The authors documented this as it evolved every day from the 1st January 2020 to 31st May 2020 inclusive. Then they looked at all of this care and caring from the point of view of design and, by the sheer volume of design interventions they have documented, illustrate that design is good in a crisis.
What the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated is that for the first time in modern history, capital was totally irrelevant. Money could not save your life. Only design could. Rapidly designed masks, shelters, hospitals, instructional posters, infographics, dashboards, respirators, sanitisers, virtual and local communities emerged to save us. From January 2020, design became king.
The Covid-19 global pandemic presented an ontological reality; design is more than margins or profit. In fact, design became extremely valuable when it stopped concentrating on those things and started to care about peoples’ lives. This brief episode in history is still repositioning the status of design and reconfiguring its signifier from consumption to care.
The contents of this book cover the outbreak, lockdown, and the beginning of the reopening in the UK. In between, the book functions as a history of pandemic crisis design interventions. As such it is a “research-in-the-moment project” where we have illustrated our thoughts and insights in tables, charts and diagrams. We have accepted all design interventions as valid and given them the same role and status by presenting each of them in a standard format. No curation. No selection. No position. The task of critical analysis must follow – perhaps by us, certainly by others.
Dr. Fernando Galdon is a doctor in Global Innovation Design from the RCA, where he is a Tutor (Research) in Innovation Design engineering. He is investigating trust design at the intersection of AI, ethics, futures, and society. His research has been published and presented internationally at conferences at MIT, The University of Cambridge, The University of Manchester, the University of Côte d'Azur, The Design Museum and The Royal College of Art. He holds undergraduate studies in Structural engineering and Product Design, and a master's in Cognitive computing and Design research from Goldsmiths. His design practice experiments with the use of design, art, sociology, science and technology as mediums to reconfigure processes and systems of production.
Prior to his current position as Professor of Design at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Prof. Paul A. Rodgers was Professor of Design at Imagination, Lancaster University. He was also the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Design Leadership Fellow (2017–2020). He has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in design from Middlesex University, London and a PhD in product design assessment from the University of Westminster, London. He is the author of nine books, including 'The Routledge Companion to Design Research'. (Routledge, Oxon, 2015). Among several editorial positions, Professor Rodgers is an Editorial Board Member of 'The Design Journal'.
Craig Bremner is an Adjunct Professor of Design at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia. Before moving to France to start a design consultancy, he was Professor of Design at CSU, during which time he was jointly Professor of Design at the University of Southern Denmark. Prior to these positions, he was Professor in Design Pedagogy at Northumbria University, UK, and before that Professor of Design at the University of Canberra, where he was also Dean of the Faculty of Design & Architecture. He is a signatory to the Lancaster Care Charter (2017) and his most recent book is 118 Theories of Design[ing] (2020).
Design, Covid-19, Care