Designing for debate | PhD Completed

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Doctorate PSL-SACRe / EnsadLab, Spécalité Design.
Supervision | Annie Gentès, Co-dir. : Emmanuel Mahé
Duration | nov 2012 – Soutenance : 20 dec 2019
Discipline | Design + SIC (Information and communication sciences).

Title | Designing for Debate – How to craft dissonant artefacts and their communication situations so as to open spaces for mutual contestation (agonism) and the expression of marginal voices (dissensus).

Summary for a generalist audience | Design for debate is an unconventional design practice that connects worlds that do not talk to each other. It is like bringing back an archive from the future, putting it at the centre of a table and starting a debate on the world to which this object belongs – a world that puts ours in dissonance. This study, led by the practice of design, is based on the analysis of 6 ‘design to debate’ projects that I developed to support the practice of an ethics commission and a research laboratory (between 2013 and 2017).
My first thesis is that the expression ‘design for debate’ may refer to a set of practices – including Critical, Speculative and Design Fiction – which have the same objective, to foster ‘contestation’ in society (whether mutual or collective). My second thesis deals with consensus, this unfortunate habit that gives priority to the opinions of the majority, to the detriment of minority voices. To thwart consensus, I propose to use “dissonant” design artifacts that entice us to react and question social norms. But I also propose to design the conditions of the debate. To do this, this thesis delivers methods to design and to research, and invites to think about new roles for designers who wish to participate in the fabric of democracy.

Jury :
• Guest: Bourganel Rémy | Independent consultant
• Jury member: Disalvo Carl | Ph.D., Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
• Supervisor: Gentès Annie | Ph.D., Professor, CodesignLab, Telecom Paris
• Examiner: Kogan Anne-France | Ph.D., Full Professor, Université de Rennes 2
• Co-Supervisor: Mahé Emmanuel | Ph.D., Head of Research, ENSAD – PSL Research Université
• Jury member: Mazé Ramia | Ph.D., Professor of Design Practices, Aalto University
• Examiner: Zacklad Manuel | Ph.D., Full Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers



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