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First cross-disciplinary design and policy network

A white wooden wall with small white notes in a circular shape stuck on. They have green and orange square and circular designs and text
  • Written byCat Cooper
  • Published date 15 July 2022
A white wooden wall with small white notes in a circular shape stuck on. They have green and orange square and circular designs and text
Work by Claudia Lehmann, BA Fine Art: Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL © Claudia Lehmann
2022 is a landmark year for public policy design. For the first time ever the UK’s government and universities are driving major networks that champion design as key for making policy and services that drive outstanding public value.

— Andrew Knight, Head of the UK Government’s Policy Design Community and Dr Lucy Kimbell, Director, UAL Social Design Institute

In an 18-month project (May 2022-November 2023) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Dr Lucy Kimbell, UAL Social Design Institute Director leads the first cross-disciplinary Design and Policy Network, bringing together researchers and practitioners to explore and develop new forms of public policy design.

The Network connects arts and humanities researchers and scientists from UAL and other UK universities with the UK Civil Service policy design community: a community of practice for people who work in different disciplines in central and local government, made up of people from over 40 public sector organisations.

This new Network will map out the intersections between design and political science for future research, knowledge exchange (KE) and collaboration, and make recommendations for academic funders and institutions including UK Research and Innovation and others – who might include government.

A joint post by Andrew Knight, Head of the UK Government’s Policy Design Community and Dr Lucy Kimbell on the Public Policy Design blog introduces this new initiative and the drivers for it.

Events

During 2022 and 2023, the project will provide opportunities for researchers, PhD students and practitioners in both government and university communities to meet, share ideas and work together. A series of hybrid in-person and online workshops and gatherings are pre-scheduled over the course of the project.

The first workshop on ‘Tensions and resistance in the field of design in policy’ took place on Wednesday 15 June at UAL High Holborn. It included invited provocations from 3 speakers: Professor Paul Cairney, University of Stirling, Dr Carla Groom, Deputy Director for Behavioural Science, Department for Work & Pensions and Professor Ann Light, University of Sussex/ Malmo University. Read Dr Jocelyn Bailey’s blog post summarising this event on the Public Policy Design Blog

Our next event will be online and in person at University of Manchester on 14 September, discussing untapped potential in design thinking and practice. It will feature invited provocations from: Dr. Carl DiSalvo, Georgia Institute of Technology; Professor Catherine Durose, Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place at the University of Liverpool and Andrew Knight, Civil Service (TBC) – followed by a roundtable discussion.

Connect with the Network

To participate in the network and receive updates, please join LinkedIn Design and Policy Network group page where you can also connect with other network members. Everyone with a professional interest in the intersections of design and public policy is welcome, from public policy, public services, academics and PhD students, and professional practice in design.

The Network will share updates in a series of guest posts on the Public Policy Design blog over the next 18 months. Remember to sign up if you’d like to receive posts by email or RSS feed as they are published.