T12: Design for Social Change

Monday, 16 July 2018, 13:30 – 17:30


Panayiotis Zaphiris (short bio)

Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Andreas Papallas (short bio)

Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus



Many designers have turned their efforts to projects geared toward positive community impact and design for social change (design for good). Design for social change encourages designers to play a catalytic role in communities through community engagement for projects that create positive social impact. Community engagement refers to the process by which a community is actively involved in building a collective solution for its own benefit.

This tutorial will guide participants through the process of developing the strategic foundations for socially minded, design-driven projects with social impact at their center and equip them with an understanding of the steps needed to make positive community impact a reality.

This tutorial will explore all the elements of a design problem to gain an understanding of where and how to intervene for positive social change. Creative sessions will help to develop best practices in forming well-articulated key questions for guiding inquiry, along with designing effective ideation sessions. Participants will then work in groups for rendering quick, rough prototypes of their ideas.


Content and Benefits:

In this tutorial participants will become familiar with the theories of design for social change, empathic design, participatory design, and how these drive design decisions for social change.  We will investigate how design can make a strategic contribution to social change and improve the lives of people living and working in excluded communities.

The tutorial will start with a coverage of the importance of Design for Social Change by addressing topics like:

  • How to engage and empower the community
  • How to facilitate and encourage dialogue in community projects that have a positive impact
  • How to embed yourself in the context of study
  • How to provide solutions to practical and often critical life issues
  • How to address societal challenges under a UCD approach
  • How to level up societal challenges that truly reflect community needs

In addition the tutorial will provide: Definitions, theories, rational/motivation and social impact of design; methodologies for designing for Social Change; case studies and examples on Design for Social Change.

Upon completion of this tutorial, participants will:

  • Learn how design can have an impact on important societal challenges for social change.
  • Learn new terms and concepts to understand design for social change (e.g., design of products for health, demographic change and wellbeing)
  • Learn the design methodologies and approaches used in designing for social change
  • Learn practical trade-offs from studying international case studies from real projects looking at social change.
  • learn practical, immediately useful principles/techniques.


Target Audience:

Target audience includes (but is not limited to): designers, researchers working in areas related to design for social change or sustainable design, interface architects, activists, policy and opinion makers.

Bio Sketches of Presenters:

Prof. Panayiotis Zaphiris is a Professor at the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts of the Cyprus University of  Technology. He is also the Dean of School of Fine and Applied Arts where he also directs and teaches on the online MSc in Interaction Design. Before returning to Cyprus he was a Reader at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design , School of Informatics of City University London where he still hold the title of Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow. Before City University, he was a researcher at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University from where he also got his Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). His research interests lie in HCI with an emphasis on inclusive design and social aspects of computing. He is especially interested in HCI issues related to the elderly and people with disabilities. He is also interested in internet related research (web usability, mathematical modelling of browsing behaviour in hierarchical online information systems, online communities, e-learning, web based digital libraries and finally social network analysis of online human-to-human interactions).

Andreas Papallas holds a BA in Architecture from the University of Sheffield and an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Cambridge with distinction. His thesis project 'Urban Rapprochement Tactics: Stitching Divided Nicosia' set out to explore the role of space in ameliorating inter-ethnic tensions and propose ways to encourage meaningful interaction. He has presented research and design work at conferences and exhibitions in San Francisco, London, Cambridge, Madrid and Nicosia. Most recently, he has co-directed a series of workshops about co-creative design and social change at the HCI International Conference in Vancouver, Canada. As such, his interest lies in developing creative design methods for social innovation and impact. Andreas has recently completed posts as Visiting Fellow at the University of Cyprus and Researcher at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research at the University of Cambridge while he is a frequent design guest critic at the University of Cyprus and the University of Nicosia. He is the recepient of the 2017 Urban Communication Research Grant by the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). In 2017, Andreas was appointed as a Summer School Unit Tutor at the 'Meeting of Design Students' in Gent, Belgium.