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Adapting Together – Symposium Programme announced

How can we all play a part in climate action?

Date Published: 15 November 2022

Adapting Together is a public symposium hosted at Lancaster University this month exploring design for equitable climate action. 

‘Adapting Together: How can we all play a part in climate action? will be held on 22 November at Lancaster University in a collaboration between ImaginationLancaster – Lancaster University’s design-led research lab – and Future Observatory – a national programme for design research supporting the UK’s response to the climate crisis at the Design Museum.

Climate change affects everyone but not everyone is able to take effective action against the climate crisis. With systemic change slow, and the public encouraged to shoulder individual responsibility, the majority are faced with an unrealistic burden.

This symposium will discuss how design can work for the benefit of both our community and climate through design research, environmental projects and community-led, collective action

With case studies from Lancashire, London, Birmingham and Bristol – spanning e-waste and repair, community housing, civic placemaking and grass-roots, collective action – and inviting expert, local responses to those case studies, ImaginationLancaster and Future Observatory ask how we might respond equitably to the climate crisis.

Dr Michael Stead, lecturer in Sustainable Design Futures at ImaginationLancaster, will present ‘The Repair Shop 2049’ project, in collaboration with Blackburn’s community digital innovation hub The Making Rooms. Akil ScafeSmith, co-founder of interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE, will present architecture, engineering, technology and art projects to address social challenges. Laurie Peake, director of Super Slow Way, will present her work with artists in communities along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in East Lancashire, using its rich environmental and heritage assets to support community led regeneration and climate action.

The Adapting Together symposium is part of  the University’s ImaginationLancaster £13.2m Beyond Imagination project,  funded by Research England and Lancaster University to explore how cutting-edge design research can create a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable world.

Professor Nick Dunn, Executive Director of ImaginationLancaster says: “We are delighted to be hosting this important event in collaboration with Future Observatory to bring this exciting line-up together as we all explore how to make positive changes for the benefit of people and planet.”

Future Observatory curates, funds and champions design research responding to the climate crisis. It is a national programme, based at and coordinated by the Design Museum, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Justin McGuirk, Director of Future Observatory and Chief Curator at the Design Museum, says “It is a pleasure to be working with Imagination Lancaster and Lancaster University to platform these accessible and equitable routes to collective climate action and to show the power of design research to catalyse change.”

The event is open to designers, researchers and anyone who is concerned with the climate crisis and how we might work together to address this. The event is in person only.

This symposium is funded by Research England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which are both part of UK Research and Innovation.

The programme for the symposium can be downloaded here.


About Imagination Lancaster

ImaginationLancaster is a globally recognised open and exploratory design-led research lab at Lancaster University, one of the top ten universities in the UK. Founded in 2006, we apply our exploratory research to address the complex challenges identified by industry, public and private sectors, national and international governments.


About Lancaster University

Lancaster University is a research-intensive university ranked amongst the UK’s top universities. Around 16,000 students from more than 100 countries choose to study at Lancaster because of our excellent reputation for research, teaching and student satisfaction. Lancaster is a truly global community with international collaborations all over the world.


About Future Observatory

Future Observatory is a national programme for design research supporting the UK’s response to the climate crisis. The programme is coordinated by and based at the Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Future Observatory aims to accelerate how we find solutions to the most pressing issues. It brings design researchers together with the networks that can help them have an impact on achieving the UK’s environmental goals.



About the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over seven million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. John Pawson has converted the interior of a 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programme.



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