Joana Casaca Lemos

Communication Design for Sustainability: exploring the role of communication design as catalyst for participation in initiatives that foster sustainability.

Photograph of ongoing research degree project work.
Joana Casaca Lemos

Central Saint Martins

The subject of research is the contemporary role of communication design within social innovation for sustainability.  This is explored through interdisciplinary practice-led research set in the context of sustainable food initiatives, seen as practical examples of a growing area for social innovation.

Two contemporary paradigms underpin the approach.  Firstly, the understanding of communication design as an ‘expanded practice’ beyond visual communication to encompass interaction and experience, as well as a facilitator of complex social exchange that generates meaning of the world.  Secondly, the recent discussion within design for sustainability focusing on the ‘qualitative’ attributes of sustainability and social innovation fostered through participation and experience.

What are the distinctive communication design practices of emerging sustainable initiatives?  How do these foster the ‘qualitative’ attributes of sustainability? And how can this inform the discipline [research and practice] of communication design? 

The research applies an iterative and collaborative methodology with a selection of sustainable food projects, as to develop and test the methods through co-created communication design projects.  The research aspires to contribute with a clear articulation of the role of communication design within social innovation for sustainability, and a framework for doing research and practice as to make this contribution.


Professor Adam Thorpe (Director of Studies)

Professor Janet McDonnell (Second Supervisor)

Rebecca Wright (Third supervisor)