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Organisation: University of Greenwich
Name: Anastasios Maragiannis
E-Mail: a.maragiannis@gre.ac.uk
Category: Research

Name of Project: diversity + inclusivity by Design: Empowering Individuals

Description of Project: The diversity + inclusivity by Design Research (d+iD) is based at the School of Design, at the University of Greenwich and in partnership with the Cultural Section of the Cyprus High Commission in London, presented an unprecedented number of outstanding visual communication research outputs in an innovative international exhibition. The exhibition showcases co-design research and explores how diverse and inclusive design become the ultimate communication tool to connect the world to go beyond expected boundaries, through a range of transdisciplinary approaches that positively impact our social and political landscapes. These works share a common objective: What is enabled when designers design with, and for, others? We have invited a group of Cypriot design researchers across the United Kingdom to explore the theme “Diversity and Inclusivity by Design: Empowering Individuals” and through extensive research to produce a piece of work with which they will participate in a group exhibition, which participated in the prestigious London Design Festival 2019. The exhibition curators have collectively selected the Practice Design Researchers, Dr Anastasios Maragiannis, Deputy Head of the School of Design at the University of Greenwich, Dr Marios Psaras, Cultural Counsellor at the Cyprus High Commission, and researcher-designer Mala Siamptani (UAL), and include Maya Angeli (Set Design), Alina Babaletsos (Floret Performance Design), Alexandros Kosmidis (Communication Design), Maria Papaleontiou (Architecture), Dr Stacey Pitsillides (Design Research), Magdalene Theodorou (Fashion), and Mala Siamptani (Participatory Design Semiotics). To design inclusively is to engage people deeply throughout the design process, sharing our practices and amalgamating people’s unique knowledge as design interventions. Through practice research, d+iD aims to amplify, diversify, and mobilise this under-investigated aspect of practice and discourse; where design acts inclusively regardless of disability, gender, ethnicity, vulnerability, language or age. The exhibition reflects on developments in diversity and inclusivity by design in the current creative Cypriot landscape. There has been an interest in exploring themes involving the diverse design group from generic or specific geographical locations. So, the initial ideas for a curatorial concept will focus around this. Using the visual language of magazines, advertising, product design, mass media and film in either low-tech or highly stylised ways, these artists and designers point the spotlight on social issues, satirise the political world or share intimate thoughts and feelings with their audience. Topics such as politics, gender, conflict, and consumerism are perfectly suited to the formats of photography, film, and sound, and this method of direct, accessible and socially engaged work has continued to influence these designers in Cyprus and beyond. The selected design practice researchers diagnosed and explored in-depth vital challenges and highlight opportunities where design can add measurable social, commercial and non-commercial value, through research and creativity. The group research exhibition outcomes hosted at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in London between September 14 -October 26, 2019 and one of the participated projects received the 100.sta-chicago.org award for visual communication excellence. The information design outputs include a series of catalogues with visual information on the selected subjects, design posters and exhibition design language through symbols and semiotics.

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