What is the contribution that design can make to sustainable development? An examination of this in the context of small scale textile production

Thomas, A 2009, What is the contribution that design can make to sustainable development? An examination of this in the context of small scale textile production , in: D2B2: Tsinghua International Design Management Symposium, 23-26 April 2009, Tsinghua University , Beijing , China.

PDF - Published Version
Download (5MB) | Preview


This paper examines design in the context of sustainable development, asking the question, what can design contribute to sustainable development? Given the continued need for development that improves quality of life and reduces poverty in both developed economies and those now developing rapidly such as India and China, the need is urgent for this to be sustainable in all aspects, economic, environmental and social. The paper reports on doctoral work examining the relationship between design and sustainable development within a selected part of the Welsh textile industry. Wales has been chosen for the work as it has a legal governmental remit for sustainable development, making it one a very small group of countries in the world to do so (Welsh Assembly Government 2004a). A case study approach has been taken to the research question (Langrish 1993, Yin 2003) with the work taking place in three stages. The second stage of the work is reported and discussed in this paper. The methodological approach is a qualitative one (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000) as this enables the researcher to build knowledge and theory during the course of the work in an iterative, reflexive way (Rossman & Rallis 1998). An essential feature of the methodology is a systems approach to the research and the reasons for this choice of approach and the insights gained are discussed (Naughton 1984, Checkland 2000). A further tool used in analysing the data is situational analysis (Clarke 2005). Both approaches use visual methods, employing diagrams and the appropriateness of this to a design research question is noted. These are judged to be suitable tools for the research question bearing in mind that the question has been asked as to whether sustainability requires a new research approach (Tilbury 2008). Findings from the first two stages of the research are reported including the use or otherwise of design in the textile production and the contribution of the producers to the ‘three pillars of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social. The planned third stage of the work is discussed and the methodological approaches that will take allow this relationship to be explored further including a reconceptualising of sustainable development. The paper is concluded by a brief examination of similar types of textile production which could contribute to sustainable development and the ways in which this could be enhanced by a design input.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > K Law > K Law (General) > K3840 Regulation of industry, trade, and commerce. Occupational law > K3921 Manufacturing industries
Subjects / Themes > N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: Dr Angharad Thomas
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2010 12:12
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:18
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/11257

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year