Delta-echo-Sierra-India-golf-November: Negotiating design responses in humanitarian crises

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Design and Emotion, 2010
Issue Date:
2010-12-01
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Both empathy and design are crucial for the development humanitarian responses to crises. This paper explores the current potential of design to respond to crisis situations to draw the agency of design in humanitarian responses into the academic arena for their presence and collaborative potential to be scrutinized and furthered. Despite the absence of focused design practices and studies in the humanitarian industry, there have been a number of design actors drawn into the moral imperative of the now highly visible humanitarian responses. With the exploration of these designers a humanitarian-oriented design ethic is emerging: despite not receiving much considered development by the wider design industry. The basis of a 'humanitarian design' ethic has started to slowly materialize over the last couple of decades through the practices of a handful of design-focused Not-ForProfit Non-Governmental Organizations. These few established humanitarian design avant-garde have already demonstrated that there is much potential for design work in areas outside of comfortable developed world marketplaces, but how to get there still remains a challenge for many interested parties. In the majority of crisis situations the most pressing questions revolve around locations and their accessibility (physically and virtually), and the accountability of visiting actors to these locations of humanitarian responses. Exploring the question of where design is aiding humanitarian response to crises, the content of this paper has been drawn from research being undertaken for a doctoral research project on the role of design in humanitarian responses, at the University of Technology, Sydney's School of Design.
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