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Prospective Design graduate program

Prospective Design is a new Master program of UTFPR, currently under evaluation by the national higher-education agency of Brazil. I helped to develop its curriculum and research structure. The program is focused on designing transition technologies for sociotechnical systems that urgently need to prioritize relational qualities, such as sustainability, resilience, equality, solidarity, or conviviality.

Historically, design research has contributed to alleviating these problems through specific projects, such as income generation or basic sanitation technologies. There is a recent movement in design research that expands its scope from products, services, and experiences to sociotechnical systems, including their contradictions. A prominent approach in this movement is Transition Design. Prospective Design is inspired by this approach, yet strives for decolonizing this approach for the reality of the Global South.

In Prospective Design, technology is seen as a means to experiment with new relationships on a small scale and also to expand relationships on a large scale. This relational view of technology includes methods, techniques, and tools capable of transforming relationships between sociotechnical systems and natural systems, as well as theories, which are often used to inspire and structure transition projects.

Transition projects require partnerships of all kinds to grasp the complexity of sociotechnical systems. Prospective Design produces facilitation, intervention, and innovation practices that equip and guide such systems in the transition towards strengthening relational qualities. Initially, the following transitions are a priority in the research agenda:

  • From an energy matrix based on fossil fuels to a matrix renewable energy-based energy
  • From a mass society to a civil society
  • From curative care to preventive care
  • From segregated education to inclusive education
  • From extractive production to restorative production

The graduate program is divided into two research lines:

  • Transition Infrastructures: the material dimension of sociotechnical transitions: objects, networks, platforms, and toolkits
  • Transition Scenarios: the conceptual dimension of sociotechnical transitions: interactions, experiences, relationships, processes, strategies, and policies

Slideshow presentation


Basic curriculum

  • Design, Technology, and Transition (04 credits)
  • Research Through Design Methodologies (02 credits)
  • Prospective Design of Infrastructures and Scenarios (04 credits)
  • Seminars (02 credits)

Electives

  • Urban rehabilitation (04 credits)
  • Wicked problems and contradictions (04 credits)
  • Scenario representation methods (04 credits)
  • Participatory design (04 credits)
  • Biomaterials (04 credits)
  • Design for territory (04 credits)

Research context

The field of Prospective Design, by Fernanda Botter (2019)

Categories: Teaching.

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