Design Routes explores the role of design in developing and revitalising culturally significant designs, products and practices. We aim to determine if and how design can make a meaningful contribution in developing and revitalising culturally significant designs, products and practices to make them relevant to the needs of people today.
Many culturally significant designs, products and practices can be seen to be out of step with contemporary society and as a result have become marginalised. Increasingly such traditions are being reassessed and revitalised as their rich historical links with community and culture mean they have much to offer in terms of identity, wellbeing and environmental stewardship.
The research focuses on products that are linked to particular places, employ traditional making processes or are embedded in local ways of life. We are exploring the links that people see between products and place – their roots, and the fact that these links change over time – their routes.