Max and Emma Lecture Series: “Engaged Design: What Did Design Ever Do For Us?”


Location: Bond Hall Auditorium

Sponsored by the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, the 2015 Max and Emma Lecture Series will feature Professor James Fathers from Syracuse University. Fathers holds the Iris Magidson Endowed Chair of Design Leadership and serves as director of the Syracuse University School of Design. Fathers’ lecture is titled “Engaged Design: What Did Design Ever Do For Us?”

“If you believe advertising and the media, design is the preserve of the affluent—the top 10% or even less. But what about the other 90% of the world’s population and their needs? The challenge before us is to train a generation of self-aware designers who understand the impact and implications of their actions. It is time to translate the groundswell of interest in this area into tangible, sustainable initiatives that co-produce positive change at a grass-roots level.”

Fathers’ teaching and learning activity focuses on sustainability, universal design, and design in a development context. His significant research interest in socially responsible design has been developed with the delivery of a number of journal and international conference papers. His doctoral research focused on the role of design education in a development context, including a 12-month research sabbatical to India, where he worked alongside local crafts groups to develop appropriate design training strategies to facilitate enterprise development. Fathers is currently working on a book project for Ashgate Gower on the role of design in development contexts. He is also director of Just Add Spice, a London-based social enterprise that develops agency timebanking systems for communities and public services.

Fathers holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and a B.A. from South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Cardiff, Wales. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.