Scottish Universities Insight Institute : a development from the institute for advanced studies

a development from the institute for advanced studies


Designing Environments for life

This programme proposes to develop a community of practice including academics, artists, architectural and design professionals as well as government, business and industry in order to understand how people perceive and shape the world around them through creative practices of designing, making, building and inhabiting.

The programme aims, firstly, to rethink the concept of environment so as to situate the lived experience of engaging with our surroundings within a more encompassing ecosystemic context, and secondly, to reconsider the meaning of design in a world that is perpetually under construction by way of the activities of inhabitants.

A third aim of the programme is to question the tendency to attribute the creativity of design to innovation rather than improvisation – that is to the novelty of prefigured solutions rather than to the capacity of inhabitants to respond with flexibility and precision to ever-changing environmental conditions.

The programme run for 4 months from September 2009. It included close collaboration with the Lighthouse in Glasgow and the Dundee Centre for Contemporary Arts who hosted a touring exhibition of art and design related to the themes of the programme.


  • Public events
  • Harrison Lecture
  • Manzini Lecture
  • Design anthropology

Programme team

  • Tim Ingold, Anthropology, University of Aberdeen 
  • Mike Anusas, Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management, University of Strathclyde 
  • Simon Roberts, Intel Digital Health Group, Leixlip, Ireland 
  • Ian Grout, School of Design, Glasgow School of Art 
  • Anne Douglas, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University 
  • Emilia Ferraro, St Andrews Sustainability Institute, University of St Andrews

Key dates

Programme events and meetings

The programme included four 2-3 day workshops (10-11th September 2009;  6th-8th October 2009; 10th-12th November 2009; 15th-17th December 2009).