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The role of design in sustainable development: a qualitative exploration in the context of Welsh textile production

Thomas, A 2011, The role of design in sustainable development: a qualitative exploration in the context of Welsh textile production , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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          Abstract

          The research question was 'What is the role of design in the process of sustainable development'. The study focused on Welsh producers making woven or knitted fabric, clothing or household textiles from wool or natural fibres. Wales was the location of the study, the Welsh government having a legal duty to pursue sustainable development. The research methodology was qualitative, following a social constructionist epistemology and a grounded approach to theory building. A case study approach was chosen. The 13 cases ranged from factory producers to individual manufacturers. Multiple methods were used to collect data while data was analysed using methods from situational analysis. Findings showed that both design and sustainable development can be conceptualised in differing ways; design as undertaken by professional designers, identified as 'big D Design' but also by producers with no design training, 'small d design'; both types of design can contribute to the sustainability of the business. Sustainable development can be seen as a model in which 'Three Pillars', economic, environmental and social are considered; however in this study a re-conceptualisation of it as a 'vision' was used. These conceptualisations show that the relationship between design and sustainable development is variable and not fixed. The producers contribute to sustainable development by their continuation in business, they have low environmental impacts and fulfil social remits. The textile producers can be classified into three groups with regard to design and sustainable development: those who are highly sustainable using 'big D Design' as a strategic tool; those who are sustainable using 'small d design'; and those who have used 'big D Design' but who have gone out of business. Thus design, both 'big D and small d', may contribute to the process of sustainable development but this contribution is also dependent on other factors beyond the producer's control.

          Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
          Contributors: (Supervisor)
          Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
          Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media > Centre for Media, Art & Design Research and Engagement (MADRE)
          Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media
          Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
          Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2012 12:02
          Last Modified: 18 Feb 2014 11:01
          URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/20730

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