Lecture by Jeffrey Bardzell – American Corners

Técnico - Alameda campus

Professor Jeffrey Bardzell (Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Bloomington, USA), will give a lecture entitled “What Rhymes With Critical Design?”, on May 15th, at 1.30 p.m., under the partnership between Técnico and the US embassy in Portugal – American Spaces.

Venue: Computer Science building II, floor 0, room 0.19/0.20 (DEI – meeting room).


Critical practices and design practices are both (at least) centuries-old. Further, as any design history makes clear, designing and criticality have often worked side-by-side. Dunne and Raby recently developed a distinctive practice that they called “Critical Design”, which has clearly resonated with many throughout the design world. Many researchers, myself included, have remarked that Dunne & Raby’s Critical Design narrows both criticality and design in order to achieve a coherent practice. The risk – and I believe it is happening – is that the design community treats their specific practice as paradigmatic of the whole idea of designing with criticality, narrowing and even foreclosing the extraordinary potentials of criticality in design.

In this presentation, I explore points where design epistemologies and critical epistemologies appear to “rhyme,” that is, where design practices and critical practices appear to be in alignment, though often with different vocabularies. Specifically, I offer a side-by-side analysis of design cognition and critical interpretation to reveal deep and surprising similarities. From this, I argue that we should not treat the intersection of criticality and design as if it were a specialized design subdomain, but instead that we should view criticality as a part of design and design as part of criticality. A role for design research, on such a view, is to develop theories and methods that open up ways of integrating criticality and design.

More information.