The Ethics of Design

I’ll be moderating (with my colleague at Assemble Papers, Rachel Elliot-Jones) a panel on the ethics of design in the age of terror and climate crisis, featuring speakers Philippa Abbott (designer and founder of A&D Projects), Ewan McEoin (Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV; & Founder of The Field Institute) and Robert Sparrow (philosopher and ARC Future Fellow). At its best, design gives us access to a better world: good design promotes efficiency, sustainability and perhaps even delight for those who experience it through living or usage. But designers are also decision-makers who must choose who they work for and what they are commissioned to design – an ethical framework for their design. Marc Newson is lauded as one of Australia’s most acclaimed and iconic designers. In late 2014, Newson designed the “486 by Marc Newson“, a premium ‘masterpiece’ for Beretta, one of the oldest firearm makers in the world. What happens when design is used to kill? Should we celebrate designers with ethical blindspots? Should designers be held accountable for the real world applications of their products?

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