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UAL’s researchers are active in defining, describing and critically assessing social design and design for sustainability.

They often do this through practical projects with partners in community settings, local government, business and public services.

The Social Design Institute drew upon this wide expertise to bring together several papers in which UAL researchers share their varied insights, perspectives and positions.

People reading a publication
Visitors reading students magazine, Show at Oxo Tower. Image courtesy of UAL


Presenting in-depth exploration and analysis, focusing on a particular project or body of work.

Scoping Culture and Heritage Capital Report, October 2022

The Scoping Culture and Heritage Capital Report explores how the value of arts, culture and heritage can be articulated and measured through the use of a capitals model. It is the result of a study, commissioned in November 2021 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to guide decision-making on policy and funding in the culture and heritage sectors and overcome gaps in the current evidence base. The study was led by Dr Patrycja Kaszynska, Senior Research Fellow at UAL, in partnership with cultural sector partners and policy makers, and collaborating with a team of researchers spanning arts and humanities, heritage science and economics.

Read more about the project or access the Scoping Culture and Heritage Capital Report:

Seed Fund Award 2021

The Social Design Institute launched a new Seed Fund Award initiative in January 2021. Academic staff were invited to submit ideas for small-scale social design and design for sustainability projects to be co-developed with the Institute over time. Of a total of 17 diverse entries, 2 projects were selected for SDI support:

‘This is Me’: Addressing Youth Violence Through Creativity - a co-creation project between Box Up Crime and UAL

Led by Val Palmer (Senior Academic Recruitment Coordinator, Central Saint Martins) and David Preston (Platform Leader, Strategy and Identity, Graphic Communication Design Programme, Central Saint Martins).

Countering the Disinformation Machine: Public engagement with Southwark Council’s COVID-19 immunisation strategy

Led by Dr Danah Abdulla (Programme Director, Graphic Design, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art), Dr Silvia Grimaldi (Course Leader, MA Service Design and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Pharma Factory, London College of Communication), Dr Hena Ali, Senior Lecturer, MA Service Design, London College of Communication) and Jeffrey Doruff (Designer, Researcher and Project Coordinator, UAL).

Working papers

These working papers present original research by former Institute's researchers and collaborators, providing new insights on social design.

Position papers

A set of specially-commissioned position papers showcasing some of the diverse thinking and innovative practice in social design and design for sustainability that exists across UAL.

What we've learned:

Social design is collaborative and participatory

Social design makes change visual and tangible

Social design connects experiences with structures and institutions

Social design is critical, reflexive and contextual

Alternatively, you can download all 13 position papers as a single document:

SDI Position Papers: Full Collection (PDF 4.24MB)