No futures: Design for a renewed focus on the present

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Design has often been discussed in terms of its orientation towards the future. While some argue that design practices are intrinsically future-oriented, others attempt to develop design-focused methods to promote or discuss particular visions of the future. In the first case, designers are seen as anticipating conditions of usage of artefacts or systems that are yet to exist. In the second, they envision potential futures, and use design to affirm or critique these futures. This chapter discusses these positions and draws attention to negative impacts of a potential homogenisation of design as future-oriented. In particular, it discusses how the focus on “futures” may lead to a simplification of the present, which can lead to disregarding different groups and realities and limit designers’ creative possibilities. Instead, we call for greater awareness, analysis, and a renewed focus on the heterogeneity of the present. This shift from ‘futures’ to ‘presents’ introduces a new level of critique, helping to reveal issues that are not speculative scenarios placed somewhere in the future, but are lived realities that can be analysed in the present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking with Time in Qualitative Research
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies, Theory and Practice
EditorsKeri Facer, Johan Siebers, Brandon Smith
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003152255
ISBN (Print)9780367714789
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Anticipation and Futures


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