Design collaborators

Design School explores opportunities to support employment in developing countries through product design thinking

Loughborough Design School has undertaken a research project to identify ways in which creative product design thinking can support developing countries in manufacturing products for export.

Design collaborators 2

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund, the project aims to provide employment that will contribute to the alleviation of poverty.

The first phase of research began early this year with a week-long workshop hosted at Loughborough, attended by senior academics from design schools in Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda and Turkey.

As a result of the workshop, twelve innovative product design proposals for lighting, furniture, packaging and consumer goods to be manufactured in the four countries were produced; focused on the use of traditional craft techniques, available manufacturing resources, natural materials and cultural heritage.

Dr Mark Evans, Reader in Industrial Design at Loughborough Design School, is the Principal Investigator for the project, working alongside Co-investigator Dr Timothy Whitehead from the Mechanical Engineering and Design Group at Aston University.

Following a period of development at both universities, they will travel to Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda and Turkey in July 2017 to present the refined proposals and collaborative working methods.

Discussing the project, Dr Evans said: “Gathering design experts from around the world with diverse regional perspectives enabled the identification of product opportunities, not only through knowledge sharing but by directly sketching design ideas.

“After a week of immersion in the distinctive cultures and direct feedback on the emerging ideas from each country, the product proposals and resulting design approach is now in an enhanced state of development and will soon be ready to present to key stakeholders around the world."