Research at Kyushu University
Research Projects and Initiatives
Recent Studies at Faculty of Design
Design Futures// Speculative Design, Solution Design and Societal Design
Design Future Course, Faculty of Design
Associate Professor Yoshito Ogata
From design focused on money-making to design focused on truer wealth
My specialty is industrial design. I have in the past been involved in interior design (including for hospitals and clinics and for residential and commercial facilities), product design (including furniture, tools and equipment, and transport facilities), and graphic design (including logos and posters), and such involvement continues to the present day.
Starting from academic year 2020, while I remain engaged in design education and training in the domains mentioned above, I am conducting research related to design methodology in problem proposal (“speculative design”) in particular, within the newly created Design Futures Course.
During the period of economic and societal growth, it was clear what specific factors and problems needed to be resolved. However, more recently, society’s problems have become more complex, and it is often hard to even identify exactly where a problem lies. Although everyone is aware, for example, of issues with plastics and LGBTQ+ rights, of the need for measures to counter natural disasters, childhood poverty, dementia, and infectious diseases, and of issues surrounding the achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals, it is increasingly hard to understand the composition and significance of these issues and to fully grasp their nature.
The Design Futures Course exposes and expresses this complexity, and its curriculum is formed around relevant design, implementation, and practical application in society.
Students study, comprehensively and in an integrated manner, among other things, methods of representation and thought relating to art and design, how to understand concepts and reality within the philosophy of design and the sociology of art, and leading-edge scientific methods based on life sciences and information science.
Words and gender
As an example, in collaboration with our students, I planned, designed, and implemented the “Words and Gender” exhibition. This involved design aimed at prompting consideration and awareness of gender from a variety of approaches. Alongside the exhibits, new questioning methods were developed using a questionnaire. New design approaches spread, as teachers of design, sociology, and art collaborated with teachers of biology, physiological anthropology, and mathematics.
The environment and plastic
As an example, I am working on the issue of recycled plastic with a local government. This project involves active collection of plastics by local residents and the combination of various techniques to recycle them for reuse in products for the local residents for which they themselves have identified a need. Initiatives have been set in motion that encourage local residents to feel that, rather than merely engaging in garbage recovery or employing engineering technology, they are acting on their own behalf and obtaining a return for themselves. This project is also being designed with specialists in engineering, administration, logistics, and sustainable development goals working alongside teachers of environmental economics.
Design Futures classes, graduation research projects, and entrance procedures
The Design Futures Course has only just begun, and relevant classes, graduation research projects, and entrance procedures are being considered and implemented.
We are researching education methods for the new domain of Design Futures that will foster a society that is truly wealthy. This will involve continuously considering the types of research, education, and entrance procedures that are required, and putting them into practice. Involved in our considerations are innovative classes for the new course, the possibility of cross curricular graduation research projects with various approaches and deep expertise, and the possibility of a comprehensive reference-based entrance procedure, with personal recommendation bringing a variety of students on board.
「Design Futures classes」https://www.df.design.kyushu-u.ac.jp/future-classes/
「Graduation research projects」https://www.design.kyushu-u.ac.jp/topics/7690/