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Annual Research Programme 2007-08: The New Sciences of Protection - Designing Safe Living

This research programme investigates ‘protection’ at the intersections of security, sciences, technologies, markets and design. Protection is at the heart of all design. Design is at the heart of the creation of new services, products, and relations. This research programme investigates how design of objects, systems, places, and services engender feelings of safety for individuals and groups. It particularly focues on the intersection of design and specific sciences and technologies. It central questions are:

  • How is ‘safe living’ conceived of by designers, artist-writers, policy makers and regulators, scientist-engineers, social scientists and humanities scholars, and how do these conceptualisations of ‘safe living’ engage with sciences and technologies of protection?
  • Is ‘safe living’ achievable?
  • And if ‘safe living’ were achievable, would it be desirable – as a politics, as an ethics, as a day-to-day way of live – and would it make us ‘safe’?

In considering these questions, this research programme investigates if sciences like biogenetics are rendering our food, our bodies, our environments, and even our futures safe. It considers whether or not contemporary technologies of protection – like high-pitched sounds designed to discourage teenagers from congregating in public spaces or on-line security practices designed to secure our data and our data doubles – actual protect ‘us’. Or do they merely commodify and/or multiply our fears and anxieties?

A key aim of the research programme is to think about design, protection, and safe living in open-ended, conceptually and practically inventive ways. To this end, the workshop and conference processes are bringing together designers, artist-writers, policy makers and regulators, scientists-engineers, social scientists, and humanities scholars.



The programme is organized into a Workshop Series, a Film Series, a Public Lecture Series, a Film Festival and a final International Conference.

Further details

Download programme poster for further details.

Programme blog




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