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About us: UAL Social Design Institute

The UAL Social Design Institute champions social and sustainable design at University of the Arts London (UAL) - helping to improve communities, society and the environment.

Our aim is to amplify, connect, support and promote the ground-breaking design, research and knowledge exchange carried out by our students, staff, Colleges, award-winning research centres and hubs.

Find out more about what we do and get in touch if you'd like to learn more or get involved.

Sustainable Fast-Fashion Installation by Jenny Banks.
Sustainable Fast-Fashion Installation by Jenny Banks, Central Saint Martins. © John Sturrock

Our mission

Our mission is to use research insights to inform and change how designers and organisations do design – and how researchers understand design – resulting in positive and equitable improvements to communities, society and the environment.

The Institute works to achieve its mission by:

  • creating opportunities for critical and innovative design research, developing new knowledge in emerging areas of research and practice in particular value, systems and policy
  • co-creating new insights and ideas through design research with communities, businesses and policy makers
  • helping UAL staff, students, PhDs and partners build skills and knowledge in social and sustainable design
  • connecting UAL staff and students with external partners working in social and sustainable design.

People and governance

The Social Design Institute is governed by a Management Committee, responsible to the University’s Executive Board.

The Management Committee provides expert oversight of the Institute’s activity and strategic development.

On a day-to-day basis, the work of the Institute is carried out by a core team, led by its Director Professor Lucy Kimbell.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, if you want to:

  • learn more about the Social Design Institute and UAL’s work in social design and design for sustainability
  • collaborate with us as a research partner – whether you are an organisation or from another university
  • find out how social design can benefit your organisation including accessing training and consultancy support
  • get advice and guidance on how to evaluate your own social design activities.