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New Dark Ages? Not At All

“Avoidance of difficulty or unpleasantness. Disavowal of extreme situations. Retreat into distraction. These appear to be the hallmarks of the fast-encroaching New Dark Ages”. No, these words are not about the U.S. election results. They’re a comment by Anne Marie Willis, editor of Design Philosophy Papers, on the state of design research. Having tried, via a mailing list, to engage 1,000 PhD design researchers in environmental issues, all that Willis encountered was “a small flicker of debate”. Her conclusion: “Signs of climate change abound. Extreme weather events are on the increase all over the world. But there seems to be an inverse relation between extremity of conditions, and preparedness to contemplate them”. Anne Marie, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong place? Academics are condemned by their business model to be inward-looking, and self-referential – but, out in the world, a lot of exciting design creativity is bubbling up.We need to focus on that. www.desphilosophy.com

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