© d.school at Stanford University
3 June 2014
by João Guarantani
From 2015, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, in partnership with the British Council, will be offering overseas Travelling Fellowships for Designers in the applied arts (Architecture, Interiors, Product and Graphic Design).
This is the second of a series of Winston Churchill Fellows' profiles featured on the ADF website to illustrate the wide variety of possible themes and approaches in these fields.
There has been a fundamental change in design practice, and the design process is increasingly seen to be relevant to strategic and organisational challenges, not just for the creation of tangible outputs like products.
In governments around the world for example, design methods are being used in the development of frontline services and public policies. These methods are varied but in essence involve a user-centred approach, clear visual communications, multi-disciplinary working and extensive testing. However, there are considerable knowledge gaps, particularly in the emerging area of design and public policy development.
Policy Advisor (for the Design Council) Camilla Buchanan’s Fellowship investigated how design is being used in two different international contexts to tackle complex problems in government and society.
She visited Tokyo to look at the relationship between design and responses to a rapidly ageing population. She also travelled across the USA and met people from government, university research centres, not-for-profits and businesses who are using design to address strategic challenges such as the development of healthcare systems and resource management.
Camilla found the Fellowship to be a pivotal experience. It hugely expanded her knowledge of new areas for design, and created numerous new opportunities and contacts.
Through the Fellowship she met over 100 people, attended an international conference and presented at three specially organised events. On her return to the UK Camilla organised several events involving people and insights from the trip, and the knowledge gained significantly informed her writing and wider work.
One of the most important benefits of the Fellowship was the space and structure that it created for Camilla to talk first-hand with the people leading design into new areas, particularly in the public sector. This improved her knowledge of where design methods can be applied in government as well as her ability to explain the relevance of design in this context and to reflect critically. Since her Fellowship, Camilla is now connected to a fascinating network of people internationally and believes she has a far clearer understanding of the emerging possibilities for design.
Applications for Fellowships in 2015 are now open and will close on 23 September this year. For full details and information on how to apply visit www.wcmt.org.uk.