Near Future Lab Podcast Appearnce: A 21st Century Enlightenment?

I was absolutely delighted to do another podcast recording (the first one is over here) with Julian Bleecker, of the Near Future Laboratory (which “is a distributed network of accomplished practitioners who come together through creative projects inspired by their curiosities, experiences, and expertise in design, engineering, anthropology and futures”).

You can listen to the podcast here.

Explore The Near Future Lab’s Amazing Work

Also, subscribe to Julian’s email list here and support his amazing work via Patreon here - it’s some amazing ‘free’ content. Check it all out.

The conversation in the Podcast, which took place immediately after our Jamboree event (more to come on that soon) in August 2022, is part of a series that Julian is calling the “Windermere Tapes” (the Jamboree took place on the banks of Windermere in the Lake District).

Pathways to Impact for Academic Work / New Value for Commercial Work

I and Julian were talking about ways of taking the kind of academic research that exists in academic design research centres (such as our own hosts, ImaginationLancaster) and figuring out new models that can no only accelerate pathways to impact for the academic research we do, but also explore ways to add value outside of a pure research context. In short, we’re talking about how to make the kind of work that we do sustainable financially, whilst also continuing to embody and progress academic stances.

Is it possible to show the monetary, societal and environmental value of Design Research? Absolutely it is. The nuts and bolts of how that happens is trickier, but in theory it works. This chat - and others I had with Julian along similar lines - were really inspirational and are helping to shape the direction of what I think we can aspire to achieve with Design Research Works.

Hope you enjoy!

More Podcasts!

You should also listen to the rest of the Windermere Tapes that were recorded with some of the other attendees. They’re all fantastic:

Thanks for a great phrase, and remembering Emma

I’d also like to give a nod to Matthew Taylor - former political strategist, and currently Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation - for the term ’21st Century Enlightenment’. I know of Matthew primarily because my late sister Emma worked at the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) when it was led by Matthew. Matthew was gracious and helpful in the aftermath of Emma’s death and later helped connect me to RSA staff, who ultimately contributed to me being awarded the Fellowship that has made Design Research Works a reality. I had heard about Matthew’s take on the idea of a 21st Century Enlightenment through the RSA’s Animates series.

Obviously my interpretation is slightly different, but it’s certainly inspired from this root. So, I’m thankful to Matthew and, as ever, thankful to my sister’s enduring influence on my life - even now, nearly a decade after she died. See the video below to hear a bit about my sister with this recording from her memorial event - you can also read her PhD thesis (Making Sense of Mental Illness: the importance of inclusive dialogue) here.

Written by

Dr Joseph Lindley

Joe leads Design Research Works and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University. He is passionate about the value of Design Research, in particular in applying that value to the challenges associated with emerging technologies, rapid societal change, and living sustainably. Probably best described as a 'generalist' his research practice usually involves material engagements with possible futures.