Project Background

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This project started as a six month research for my master’s thesis on Strategic Product Design at TU Delft, supervised by Bregje van Eekelen and Roy Bendor, and done in collaboration with design fiction studio Imagination of Things.

You can have a look at the full thesis here.

About Pedro


Pedro is a design researcher at the intersection of participatory and speculative design. His work aims to support the collective imaginative capacity of individuals, communities and organisations. Since his theoretical explorations of PSD during his thesis, Pedro has been applying some of this knowledge in both self-initiated and client projects for cultural, public and private organisations.

Project Context

Speculative design is an approach that, through speculation into the possible, aims to challenge the status quo, explore the implications of emerging issues, and frame debate around matters of concern [1].

While the goal of speculative design is in engaging publics in debate and exploring alternatives to the dominant narrative, the practise has been facing several critiques. More specifically, speculation as remained exclusive to the designer as an author [2] and most of the work is disseminated in gallery spaces, limiting the reach and depth of the debates generated [3].

However, new projects and practitioners have emerged that push speculative design work into new contexts and within a participatory mindset. The goal is in “democratising the future” and bringing speculative design to new contexts [4]. This thesis is placed at this intersection between participation and speculative design. The main research questions addressed by this thesis is the following:

<aside> ❔ How is participation being approached in speculative design practice?


<aside> ❔ What are the challenges of integrating participation in speculative design?


The final outcome showcased in this website is the result of both a survey of projects and eight semi-structured interviews with practitioners working on this space.

[1] Auger, J. (2012). Why Robot? Speculative Design, the Domestication of Technology and the Considered Future

Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming. The MIT Press.Haylock, B. (2018). What is critical design? In G. Coombs, A. McNamara, & G. Sade (Eds.), Undesign (1st ed., pp. 9–23). Routledge.

[2] Bowen, S., (2010). Critical Theory and Participatory Design. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’10. ACM, 10-15.Prado O. Martins, L. (2014). Privilege and Oppression: Towards a Feminist Speculative Design. DRS 2014: Design’s Big Debates.Ward, M. (2019). Critical about Critical and Speculative Design. Speculative Edu. LINK

[3] DiSalvo, C. (2009). Design and the Construction of Publics. Design Issues, 25(1), 48–63.Malpass, M. (2012). Contextualising Critical Design: Towards a Taxonomy of Critical Practice in Product Design

[4] An example of this is the work of the Extrapolation Factory.