Research in design contributes to create a better world.
BAU & the Research
The BAU research department was founded with the goal of supporting and encouraging the curiosity of those of us who are convinced that design can contribute to creating a better world. It emerged from a belief in the growing importance of design research as a way of conceiving and making worlds. It was created in the knowledge that the contemporary challenges we face are becoming increasingly complex and must be tackled using hybrid, critical and creative research methodologies. For this reason, the centre promotes research as a space for exploration with experimental and inventive methods, research which is capable of combining technology with aesthetics, and of delving into the epistemic without abandoning the desire to improve the material conditions of people's lives.
In this way, forms of research are promoted that sit at the intersection between art, science and design; that seek to highlight and eradicate forms of discrimination embedded in everyday material objects; and that are conscious of the health challenges of an increasingly polluted world which is facing an unparalleled climate crisis. Rigorous but tentative forms of research, grounded in the need to foster social justice while never losing the desire to explore unusual aesthetics. Research that is able to question industry, without losing interest in social issues or critical and speculative practices. This has led to research projects defined by their concern for understanding the role of bodies in an increasingly technological world; for breaking away from the disciplines of pedagogies and ways of understanding reality; for delving into the role of the image and its performative capacity; for the potential of design to improve the lives of communities at risk of exclusion; and for tackling, from a feminist and decolonial point of view, the work of invisibilised female designers whose efforts have been disregarded.
This is why BAU promotes and encourages:
- The creation of the GREDITS research group (Design and Social Transformation Research Group), recognised as a consolidated group by the SGR.
- The establishment of two Research Units recognised by the centre itself, these being ALTERATIONS and the Institute of Political Materialities.
- The creation of the BAU Editions imprint, through which conference proceedings, books and teaching materials are edited and published.
- The establishment of the scientific journal Inmaterial. Diseño, Arte y Sociedad.
- The creation of a Doctoral Unit with the aim of implementing an innovative PhD programme in Design and Communication.
With all this, BAU has armed itself with a robust mechanism designed to promote, encourage and consolidate research as one of the strategic pillars of the centre.
Research Groups & Units
GREDITS - The Design and Social Transformation Research Group
GREDITS (Design and Social Transformation Research Group) was established in 2010 through the tireless support of Teresa Martínez Figuerola and based on the ideology of BAU, Design College of Barcelona, and the recognition of an interest and concern shared by its teaching and research team. Made up of a multidisciplinary group of lecturers from the Bachelor’s Degree in Design, the aim of GREDITS is to create a collective research space in which to analyse how social and technical changes impact the form, concept and function of art and design.
Over the years, the research conducted by the group has been manifested through a variety of formats (publications, conferences, exhibitions, projects, R&D&I contracts, etc.), with the constant aim of openly and publicly sharing the results within the BAU community and beyond, while maintaining an ongoing dialogue with other prestigious national and international academic and creative communities.
GREDITS was recognised by the Generalitat (Autonomous Government) of Catalonia in 2014 as an Emerging Research Group (Mutual Guarantee Associations 2014–16). Ultimately, in the subsequent call (SGR 2017–2019) it was recognised as a consolidated research group.
Lines of Research
The group currently has three lines of research (historical memory and cultural construction of art and design, pedagogy and design, gender and design), which are being redefined thanks to the ongoing synergies between the studied topics and the contrasting potential of the members of the group.
Historical memory and cultural construction of art and design (Iconologies)
Line of research coordinator: PhD Jorge Luis Marzo
A line of research that arises from the historiographical interest in connecting design, art and visual production in a genealogy of research into cultural identity in a globalised and technologically integrated world; one which enables design and art – in all its forms – to be ever more transitory, dynamic and changing, while hybridising cultural identities but also questioning potential diversities. On the other hand, the transformations within the contemporary communication system, which increasingly foster iconographic languages, invite new forms of exploration of communicative phenomena with apparent political, social and creative effects in terms of memory and visual productivity. In this regard, the plan is for this line to be called Iconologies, which will unite the group's objects of study in relation to memory, theory, history and criticism of visual communication and creativity.
Gender and design
Line of research coordinator: PhD Sílvia Rosés
This line unites the main interests of GREDITS in addressing the history, theory and feminist critique of creative phenomena in art, fashion and design, with particular emphasis on the influence that feminist sensibilities and politics have on all areas of social, cultural and productive life, and on precarious ecological, working and sexual environments. Gender studies, in its broadest sense, studies gender identity and its representation as a social taxonomic construct that can generate paradigms of the human condition. Based on this concept, this line of research proposes an investigation and in-depth study of the new forms of feminist thought and creativity in design as a driver of change in the traditional heteropatriarchal system.
Pedagogy and design
Line of research coordinator: PhD Mariona Genís
Set in the context of the progressive incorporation of active methodologies in university design studies, this line researches the processes involved in the teaching and learning of design through a critical lens that allows the limits, tensions and opportunities that arise in these areas to be examined in greater depth.
Taking as its starting point the intersections between historical, contemporary and future design learning, this line explores, firstly, the way in which new contexts and heterogeneous learning tools can connect and hybridise design with other fields, disciplines and knowledge with a view to tackling ever-changing scenarios. Secondly, it is also concerned with the manner in which these new contexts, tools and methodologies can be displaced, through inventive resources and experimental practices, to all areas and stages of the educational process. The objective, in this instance, is to analyse what the limits of this displacement are and where they are, from the perspective of the design of objects, spaces, devices and learning environments in various educational contexts.
PhD Maria Pagès
PhD Sílvia Ventosa
For more information, you can visit www.gredits.org
ALTERATIONS, transdisciplinary and critical methodologies
The ALTERATIONS research unit was founded with the goal of generating knowledge, procedures, understanding and practices that are open, flexible and interdisciplinary. Consequently, this unit is presented not only as a field of research, but also as a focus of work and an open process. Its primary objective lies in creating a space for common thinking, mutual learning and joint action (with other disciplines, knowledge, objects and human and non-human species). Thus, ALTERATIONS is distinguished by its experimental and emergent nature, as it focuses on the act of transferring/exchanging/replacing/discussing scientific and non-scientific methods, taking as its own those originating from design and art, which are understood as cultural fields.
PhD Maria Fernanda Moscoso
Institute of Political Materialities
The Institute of Political Materialities (IMP), is a space that was conceived to accommodate and promote research and design experimentation. An initiative designed to support those communities of practices that explore the limits and intersections between design, pedagogy, art, politics, science and contemporary thought. This initiative combines heterogeneous materialities and disparate practices; digital materials and discursive artefacts; emerging technologies, exploratory practices and tentative theories. The Institute of Political Materialities is a research group, a space for reflection, a knowledge transfer device, an indeterminate institution and a critical project with standardised forms of validation and accreditation of academic research.
PhD Marta Camps
Inmaterial is a scientific journal aimed at researchers, professionals, and teachers who engage with art and design in its different theoretical and practical forms. The purpose of this journal, however, is to move beyond the traditional boundaries of these disciplines, and make their reflections available to the broadest possible audience.
Inmaterial aims to provide a space for reflection and debate, one that is rigorous but at the same time agile and dynamic, on issues related to art and design and their potential for social transformation.
Editorial coordination: Mara Martínez Morant and Ernesto Ramón Rispoli
Digital publication: www.inmaterialdesign.com
Publication protected by a Creative Commons licence.
Designing for healthcare (Vol. 4 - Num. 8)
El movimiento pop desde la periferia (Vol. 4 - Num. 7)
Pedagogía y diseño en tiempos de transformación constante (Vol. 3 - Num. 6)
(re)diseño Desobediente (Vol. 3 - Num. 5)
Diseño y Posverdad (Vol. 2 - Num. 4)
Cuerpos poliédricos y diseño. Miradas sin límites (Vol. 2 - Num. 3)
Diseño y transformación. Perspectivas críticas (Vol. 1 - Num. 2)
Nuevos materialismos (Vol. 1 - Num. 1)
Proceedings and conference comunications
BAU Design Forum
These publications collect the contributions of the BAU Design Forum speakers, an interdisciplinary conferences of design and communication organized annually by BAU. Scientific coordination of the BAU Design Forum: Dr. Ramon Rispoli.
Editors of the proceedings 2018: Dr. Ramon Rispoli, Pierino Dal Pozzo and Pau de Riba. Download (PDF).
Editors of the proceedings 2017: Dr. Ramon Rispoli, Pierino Dal Pozzo and Pau de Riba. Download (PDF).
Conference communications of bodies_perceptions_design_ organized by BAU.
Editor: Dr. Mara Martínez Morant
Scientific coordination: Dr. Mara Martínez Morant and Dr. Paloma González Díaz. Download PDF.
The BAU Doctorate Unit organizes the academic and administrative management of activities related to doctoral studies. It was created with the aim of accompanying and promoting the different doctoral theses that are being developed within the framework of the center. It is a space born to promote research, facilitate the exchange of knowledge and promote cooperation between the research community of the center.
To do this, doctoral training workshops and seminars are regularly organized. Advice and tutoring is offered for current doctoral theses. Monitoring and evaluation commissions for the different projects are organized, and active work is being done to link the doctoral community with research and knowledge transfer projects.