1st Edition

Design Materials and Making for Social Change From Materials We Explore to Materials We Wear

Edited By Rebecca Earley, Rosie Hornbuckle Copyright 2023
    240 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Design Materials and Making for Social Change spans the two interconnected worlds of the material and the social, at different scales and in different contexts, and explores the value of the knowledge, skills and methods that emerge when design researchers work directly with materials and hold making central to their practice.

    Through the social entanglements of addressing material impacts, the contributors to this edited volume examine homelessness, diaspora, migration, the erosion of craft skills and communities, dignity in work and family life, the impacts of colonialism, climate crisis, education, mental health and the shifting complexities in collaborating with and across diverse disciplines and stakeholders. This book celebrates the role of materials and making in design research by demonstrating the diverse and complex interplay between disciplines and the cultures it enables, when in search of alternative futures.

    Design Materials and Making for Social Change will be of interest to scholars in materials design, textile design, product design, fashion design, maker culture, systemic design, social design, design for sustainability and circular design.

    List of Contributors



    Jessica Hemmings



    Rebecca Earley and Rosie Hornbuckle





    Rosie Hornbuckle and Rebecca Earley


    Chapter 1: From food waste to circular materials for design: experimenting with matter from unconventional origins 

    Valentina Rognoli, Luca Alessandrini and Barbara Pollini


    Chapter 2: Multimorphic Textiles: prototyping sustainability and circular systems 

    Holly McQuillan 


    Chapter 3: Hands-on hands-off: on proximities to materials and systems in design research 

    Rosie Hornbuckle 


    Chapter 4: Sensory Prosthetics: Materials-Led and User-Centred Research for More Inclusive Prosthetic Limbs 

    Sarah Wilkes and Caitlin McMullan  


    Chapter 5: Decolonising Materials: The story of Govindgarh village 

    Bhaavya Goenka 


    Chapter 6: NTU X Emmanuel House: Developing a responsible design practice with fashion students and service users

    Katherine Townsend, Emma Prince, Alison Escott and Gill Barker 


    Chapter 7: Sewing Box for the Future: up-skilling the next generation

    Jen Ballie, Meredith More and Becca Clark


    Chapter 8: Re-creation and recreation: playful sustainable fashion textile projects with school children 

    Rebecca Earley  


    Chapter 9: Fashion Activism and Design for Social Change – The Making for Change: Waltham Forest Project 

    Francesco Mazzarella 


    Chapter 10: Decolonising Design Perspectives: Steps Towards More Inclusive Circular Economies  

    Sophie Tendai Christiaens


    Chapter 11: Making for Our Time: A journey told through the dress as catalyst for change 

    Sandy Black and Helen Storey 




    Rebecca Earley is UAL Chair of Circular Design Futures and Co-Founder of Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

    Rosie Hornbuckle is Senior Researcher in Complex Design Collaborations at Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College of Arts and Associate at the Service Futures Design Research Lab at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

    "Design, Materials and Making for Social Change wonderfully demonstrates why textile design is about world making through and through. It showcases a new breed of material designers engaged in social change at the interface between the material, the ecological and the social. By bridging research and practice through collaborative approaches across continents, the authors demonstrate why a circular approach underscoring the agency and aliveness of materials can yield workable answers to the social and ecological challenges of the industry. From 'material drafts' and literacy in the North to decolonizing materials and vernacular circularity in the South, this volume illustrates paths for transitions from object-oriented designing to design as a relational praxis of repair, care, and regeneration of the web of life." 

    --Arturo Escobar, author of Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence and the Making of Worlds (2018) and Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible (2020).  

    "Making in the context of a planetary emergency should not be guilt-ridden, but rather a means to prototype how creative knowledge can reconnect us to the natural world. This book will help to ground design research and textile making in a rigorous yet hopeful journey towards a circular future."

    --Carole Collet, Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures, Central Saint Martins UAL