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  1. Relational design and the contradiction of oppression

    Relational design and the contradiction of oppression

    Una charla en la sesión 8 de la Cátedra Diseño, Arte y Ciencia acogida pela Facultades de Artes y Diseño y de Ciencias Naturales e Ingeniería de la Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano (Colombia). Abstracto: El Diseño Relacional es una transformación profunda en la teoria y practica del diseño, en que se pierde el objeto para […] - Sep 21, 2021
  2. Visual oxymoron

    Visual oxymoron

    Visual oxymoron is a graphic representation of a contradiction codesigned by those who face that contradiction in everyday life. In written language, an oxymoron is a figure of language that displays interconnected opposing ideas. A visual oxymoron displays the opposite forces of a contradiction in a single image. The representation can be made through visual […] - Jan 27, 2021
  3. Metaphorical germ cell model

    Metaphorical germ cell model

    Germ cell model is a representation of a contradiction that is at the forefront of activity development. It features the dialectical reason why development is not advancing further as expected, and a possible path to overcome the barriers. Models are rather ambivalent in the way they represent contradictions, since they may not solve the contradiction. There […] - Jan 27, 2021
  4. What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    Design research is increasingly concerned with being part of change processes in everyday life, in communities, in organizations, and in large-scale sociotechnical systems. Despite the growing interest, the field is not prepared to deal with this topic. The predominant theories in design research were crafted to understand individuals interacting with products, or groups of people […] - Apr 21, 2020
  5. Lego Physical Oxymoron (LEPOX)

    Lego Physical Oxymoron (LEPOX)

    LEPOX challenges the participants to collaboratively identify and materialize a contradiction using Lego pieces. This game is inspired by the LEGO Serious Play ® method, which relies upon physical metaphors for improving team communication. The participants are invited to make a model of what they perceive to be a contradiction in terms — a physical […] - Apr 6, 2020
  6. Contradiction-driven design

    Contradiction-driven design

    I have developed for my Design Thinking course a comprehensive explanation on how design can be part of big transformations in society. Instead of making changes to society, as in the paradigm of “social impact”, I teach my students to discover transformations already in course, understand them, and support them. The concept of contradiction is key to my approach: a unite […] - Oct 28, 2016
  7. The social production of design space

    The social production of design space

    Van Amstel, F.M.C; Hartmann, T; Voort, M. van der and Dewulf, G.P.M.R. The social production of design space, Design Studies, 46, 2016, p. 199–225. DOI: - May 2, 2016
  8. PhD thesis - Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    PhD thesis – Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    Quick intro: What is expansive design? Quick graphics: Sketching an expansive design definitionQuick contextualization: What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research? Abstract: This thesis looks at the practice of design as it emerges in architectural design and service design. The lens adopted considers design both as an activity as well […] - Dec 14, 2015
  9. Representing contradictions without trying to solve them

    Representing contradictions without trying to solve them

    Design-oriented ethnography seeks to find opportunities for innovation in social activities. Disturbances, tensions, and conflicts are sometimes used to ground or justify these opportunities, as if they could be avoided by an innovation. Ethnographers know that social contradictions cannot be resolved by design since they depend on collective endeavors; however, they still need to provide […] - Nov 20, 2015
  10. How to represent contradictions

    How to represent contradictions

    Contradictions are social tensions that accumulate in the history of a society. When they reach the peak, conflicts come to the surface and society has to take action to change what is feeding the contradiction. In simple words, it is necessary to attack the root of the problem. There are design approaches that try to […] - Jan 5, 2015
  11. Designing with contradictions

    I just made a pecha-kucha presentation about my PhD research in 6’40”. I try to explain what I mean with Expansive Design, the design approach I’m building up that takes advantage of social contradictions, instead of trying to solve them. Contradictions are social relationships that have a long history and cannot be solved by any […] - Mar 12, 2014
  12. Contradictions in the design space

    Contradictions in the design space

    van Amstel, F., Zerjav, V., Hartmann, T., van der Voort, M., and Dewulf, G. (2014) Contradictions in the design space, in Lim, Y., Niedderer, K., Redström, J., Stolterman, E. and Valtonen, A. (eds.), Design’s Big Debates – DRS International Conference 2014, 16-19 June, Umeå, Sweden. - Feb 17, 2014
  13. Making games to communicate research findings

    Making games to communicate research findings

    After two years conducting field studies about the participation of healthcare professionals in construction projects, I decided to make a board game based on my findings. The target players are those same professionals I’m studying. The idea is that the construction and healthcare professionals can switch their roles for a while and understand their different […] - Apr 4, 2013
  14. Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    During my last trip to Brazil, together with Andre Malheiro, I conducted a Design Thinking workshop at Rede Globo, the producer of the famous Brazilian soap operas. I’ve been experimenting using Activity Theory as a framework for Design Thinking in these kind of workshops for a while, but after this, I got an important insight: […] - Oct 31, 2011