Design: lost in translation?

Building-up a shared understanding for Design in public policies.

Workshop | 22 October 2019

Join us in discussing different Design perspectives and contexts and working on the role of Design in public policies.
Design professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs: all welcome!

UPTEC BAIXA | PhD in Design Studio | Praça Coronel Pacheco, 2 – Porto


The workshop is completely free, but registration is mandatory.


Design in Policies?

Policy makers and public authorities have been embracing Design for quite some time now, starting at the 19th Century with the first design and crafts societies, then after the Second World War with the creation and development of design councils and roughly for the past 25 years with the emergence of dedicated policies for Design.

The premise has always been that Design can add value to society at large and contribute to innovation, on the expectation that it will bring about much needed solutions to a variety of problems within different fields.

Indeed, at present times and more than ever, Design has been presenting itself as an asset by offering new possibilities on how to envision the world and the future, by proposing new solutions and approaches. In this regard, Design has been broadening its horizons and has been demonstrating how it can offer value of different forms, be it cultural, social, financial, business or environmental, to name a few examples.

Not surprisingly, one can observe the diversity of policy approaches to Design in different parts of the world that subscribe the range of expected possibilities. For instance, India’s Design policy focus on its industry and traditional crafts, in Queensland (Australia) there are wider expectations for Design by targeting industry, business, innovation, environment, education or health, while in Europe the link essentially connects Design, innovation and markets.

Examples of recent Design Policies:

+ European Union Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation (2013)

+ India National Design Policy (2007)

+ Queensland (Australia) Design Strategy 2020 (2009)

What are the issues?

While there is clear evidence on how Design can contribute to innovation in a variety of fields, when it comes to Design policies, there seems to exist a set of complex and many times contradictory elements.

For example, previous research has shown there is a limited relationship between design policies and innovation policies in regard to their rational and conceptualisation strategies. A likely reflection on how innovation policies have been developed and extensively debated for over fifty years, while Design policies are fundamentally recent phenomena developed in a different context.

Simultaneously, the diverse and distinct possibilities for Design policy options also reveal multiple, confusing, or simply absent definitions, expectations and/or configurations for Design in policies. And while such concepts are useful in their own policy context, on a macro level it may reveal fundamental problems and limitations on the possibilities for Design.

Another factor, for example, refers to how Design might play an important role in the full spectrum of research, development and innovation processes in different sectors, either through a more structured approach to a fully explorative one - both indeed needed to the generation of new knowledge - even if the use of Design within this rationale is not yet fully understood or accomplished.

Why now?

We are currently witnessing on-going discussions within the Design sector for the formulation and introduction of the next generation of design policies, particularly at European level. 

The timing for such discussions is concurrent with the larger political landscape debates at the European Union level, which is preparing the next policy and funding framework 2021-2027, that will define the major challenges and instruments that go along.

It thus became clear the need to further promote discussions among the Design sector to bring in different perspectives that shed light on some of the issues previously mentioned, on the expectation to contribute to further clarification and tying some of the current loose knots for a better and more solid positioning of Design at a public policy level.  

This reasoning led to a question: is there a shared understanding between policy makers and design professional, researchers and entrepreneurs as to what design means and can do or has design been ‘lost in translation’?

Rui Monteiro
PhD in Design, University of Porto
September 2019


9:30 - Registration and welcoming of participants

10:00 - Opening / Introduction
Heitor Alvelos, Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto
Rui Monteiro, PhD in Design Student

10:20 - Design and Innovation in Public Services
Sofia Peres, Associação Porto Digital

10:40 - Design Research: an agent for Portuguese manufacturing cultures
Abhishek Chatterjee, ID+ Research Institute for Design, Media and Culture

11:00 - Coffee-break @ UPTEC BAIXA Garden

11:20 - Design and Business
Filipa Mendes, Galula Studio
Pedro Fragoso Lopes, Cachupa Creative Studio
Ricardo Lafuente, Journalism++

12:00 - Policies, Design and Innovation
Anne Boddington, Kingston University

12:30 - Pause for light snack @UPTEC BAIXA Garden

14:00 - Working Groups Parallel Discussions - methodology presentation

14:10 - Parallel Working Groups
Group 1
Can Design make better policies?

Group 2
Does Design need a public policy?

Group 3
How can Design be incorporated across sectors?

15:10 - Presentation of results and discussion

15:20 - Closing remarks

15:30 - Goodbye Snack & Drinks / Porto de Honra @UPTEC BAIXA Garden


Sofia Peres
Associação Porto Digital

Sofia Peres is a service designer and user researcher at Associação Porto Digital. Through research, co-creation and strategic design initiatives, she facilitates multi-stakeholders throughout the innovation process to improve or create new services, always applying a human-centred approach.

With background in Communication Design, Sofia refocused her journey to service innovation and new product development, with the Master in Innovation and Design Management, in Barcelona. From there she hosted several service design events, in the cities of Barcelona, Porto and Lisbon, as local host and main facilitator.

Abhishek Chatterjee
ID+ Research Institute for Design,
Media and Culture

Abhishek Chatterjee is the executive coordinator of the research project ‘Anti-Amnesia’ at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, which focuses on restoring material, human, and social narratives surrounding dissipating traditional industrial practices in Portugal.

He has roots in product and accessory design, and his research interests concern the study of relational creative activities within the triumvirate of design, media, and heritage.

Filipa Mendes
Galula Studio

Filipa Mendes was born in 1985 in Porto, studied product design and co-founded the furniture and lighting design brand Galula and the product design studio Mendes Macedo. Divides her time building the two brands and co-designing the products. As a challenge, she tries to overcome the relationship between design, industry and investment.

Pedro Fragoso Lopes
Cachupa Creative Studio

From Cantanhede to the world, with multiple projects between Coimbra and Porto. With a Master degree in Design for Social Innovation, I'm developing a project in a low demographic area in Portugal (Sever do Vouga), trying to reverse the decrease of population through young people (students) and their connection to the culture of the place and through the sense of belonging.

Through Cachupa Creative Studio I do 3D modelling/printing, multimedia and Design services, but also represents my personal creative studio where i develop myself as a maker and a creative individual, and where I can explore the advantages of Design and Creativity in Communities.

Ricardo Lafuente
Journalism ++

Ricardo Lafuente is a designer and coder focused on the crossings between design, technology, data and free/open culture.

His current roles include editor and data architect at the J++ data journalism agency, designer at the Manufactura Independente design studio, coordinator of the Transparência Hackday civic tech collective, and teacher at the Communication Design department of ESAP.

Anne Boddington
Kingston University

Anne Boddington is Professor of Design Innovation, Pro Vice Chancellor for Culture and Public Engagement and Dean of Kingston School of Art at Kingston University.

She has extensive experience of design education and design research in higher education across the UK and internationally. She is an experienced chair and has held trustee and governance roles across the creative and cultural sector including as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), an affiliate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a member of the executive of the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD) and as a member of the advisory board and the peer review college of the Arts & Humanities Research Council.


Venue Address

Praça Coronel Pacheco, 2 – Porto, Portugal

Contact Email


Rui Monteiro, PhD in Design Programme, University of Porto

Bruno Giesteira - Faculty of Fine Arts, Design Department, University of Porto
Anne Boddington - College of Art & Design, Kingston University
Cristina Farinha - Institute of Sociology, University of Porto

Digital Support/Web - Rita Falcão
Workshop Facilitators - Elisa Caetano, Virgínia Rocha e Rui Monteiro
Photography - Clara Roberti

This workshop takes place within the PhD in Design research project of Rui Monteiro and is part of the UD19: Design Does a Selfie programme.


Santander Universidades