*The Call for Conversations is now closed*

Design as a Catalyst for Change

DRS2018 Limerick invited design researchers to explore design as a powerful catalyst for change in one or more of the three areas of Design Research, Practice, and Policy.

During DRS2018: Catalyst we will critically engage with our key research questions:

  • How can design research help explore the changing territorial contexts of design practice and/or policy?
  • How can design, as a catalyst, shape the relationship between research and practice?
  • How can design, and social, economic and political change, shape each other?


The call for Conversations is now closed and we have completed the review process for the DRS2018 Conversations track. The number of proposals exceeded our expectations and the general standard of proposals was very high. We received 50 submissions and will include approximately 20 in the conference programme.

The aim of the Conversation format is to engage a limited number of attendees in open exchange in arriving at new understandings on a topic. Accepted Conversations focus on the artefacts of design, design theory, methods and process. The range of topics that will be covered during the DRS2018 Conversations sessions includes design pedagogy, ethics, feminism, inclusivity, the politics of design, decoloniality, amongst others.

We welcomed Conversation proposals that represent diverse perspectives, that are experimental in nature and that productively challenge our assumptions of what the topics and forms of design research are or could be.

Review Process

Unlike the traditional papers at the DRS2018 conference, Conversation proposals were not double-blind peer reviewed. Instead, a sub-committee of the DRS2018 organising committee reviewed the Conversation proposals in a single blind two-step process, to ensure that they meet the submission criteria outlined below. The first step created two single blind reviews for each submission. During the second step, each submission was discussed by the sub-committee according to the review criteria and a final decision was made.

Review Criteria

Reviewers used the following criteria to assess each Conversation proposal:

  • Engaging theory and practice;
  • Relevance to overall conference theme; relevance of topic and activities to Conversations call;
  • Originality of topic and format; we encourage experimental proposals that challenge the status quo;
  • Diversity (cultural, geographical, disciplinary);  
  • Participant involvement / audience engagement.


Successful proposals demonstrate feasibility for an open Conversation session that engage participants and have the potential for a productive outcome. Priority was given to those proposals that already have agreements with convenors that they will attend the conference and participate in the Conversation.

Preparing Your Stage-Two Submission

Please prepare your stage two submission using the new template

Conditions of acceptance

The condition of acceptance will be based on Convenor’s commitment to:

  1. Attend the conference
  2. Respond appropriately to the reviewer feedback
  3. Engage with the dedicated DRS 2018 online forum (invitation to follow in April)
  4. Produce summary documentation of your session post-conference for dissemination on the DRS website

If your proposal has been accepted you will need to prepare your Stage Two Conversation proposal. The deadline for this submission submission is Tuesday 17th April.

  1. If you have agreed to revise your submission the deadline for your indication of this agreement is via e-mail to the Conversation’s Chair by Tuesday 27th March
  2. Please provide a high resolution feature image of print quality (300 dpi at actual size) as part of your Stage Two submission.
  3. It is an expectation of the Conversations Chair that you should develop and finalise your proposal based on the reviewer feedback provided, using this new template which also requests an abstract of 200 words.

Submission Requirements

Stage Two submissions should adhere to the template criteria provided and submission requirements. Your Stage Two submission should be submitted via the Conftool under ‘Your Submissions’ and ‘Final Upload’.

Each Conversation session will be  90 minutes in duration.

As previously, Stage Two Conversation proposals should include:

  1. A list of 3-5 confirmed convenors, their job titles and their roles for this session;
  2. A title and short description (1-2 paragraphs) of the Conversation topic to be addressed;
  3. An organizing research question posed for the Conversation session;
  4. A description of the set-up for the Conversation session, including a plan on incorporating and documenting the contributions of others;
  5. A description of the type of space and equipment required;
  6. A strategy for documentation and dissemination. DRS2018 will provide an online forum to help refine such a strategy.

Online Forum and Dissemination

The DRS2018 Conversations aims to initiate an exchange ahead of the DRS2018 conference. Each Conversation proposals will have a dedicated webpage and forum space on the DRS2018 conference website.  The forum discussion for each Conversation will be launched approximately six-eight weeks in advance of the conference and will be closed one month after the conference concludes to create a record of forum discussions. The forum will be moderated by the Conversations committee.

The Conversation convenors are expected to produce a concluding document from their Conversation sessions. Online forums may take the form, for example, of a storify report, flarm, disqus or fanzine.’ A documentation template will be circulated following your agreement to the conditions of acceptance. This webpage is also where the final documentation and dissemination materials (hyperlinks to zines, podcasts) will be displayed.


The outputs from the Conversation sessions will be coordinated into a temporary exhibition during the DRS2018 conference. The planning for and details of the exhibition will be shared over the coming weeks.


Information for Participants

The Conversations sessions are currently being programmed and the schedule of sessions will be released in the coming weeks. The DRS2018 Conference Committee will invite delegates to pre-register for Conversation sessions once the programme has been finalised. The early bird registration deadline for DRS2018 is Tuesday 17th April.


If you are unable to attend the DRS2018 conference or a specific Conversation session, the online forum offers the opportunity to participate in and follow all sessions. The dissemination materials will be shared publicly on the the DRS2018 website following the conference.

Key Dates For Conversation Proposals

Agreement to accept/ revise submission: Tuesday 27th March
Stage Two Workshop proposal submission : Tuesday 17th April.
Early bird registration deadline for DRS2018: Tuesday 17th April.


Online forum (Definitive dissemination format and call for participation): Date TBC

Contact Us

For further information and sign up for updates please visit the conference website:

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