School of Critical Design

Critical Design

We are a London based design school born of an experimental studio model and dedicated to exploring practice, methods, and thinking around next design & business while looking into critical global issues affecting humanity today and for the next 1,000 years.

Come and explore the future with us.

A one day workshop exploring contexts and practices looking to the future of Chinese technology, influence, and power.

1 Day / 9.00 – 18.00

Location - Central London
Max number of places - 20

Introductory rate until 19th Aug
£720 + 20% VAT
£900 + 20% VAT

In a world where the centres of power, progress and consumption are shifting, as designers and thinkers we need to understand these new contexts and learn from the specific conditions and practices developing there. China is a new kind of leader in innovation and environmental initiatives, it has a deep and thriving design culture yet the country remains somewhat unknowable and even fearsome for many outsiders.

In this session we'll explore some of the specific future problems and opportunities presented by the Chinese context and benefit from cross-cultural conversation and practice. We’ll hear from industry leading Chinese strategists and studios about emerging design disciplines and we'll use speculative briefs to play with possible global Chinese futures.

Express interest

Express interest above and we'll let you know when booking opens.

A one day workshop exploring the basics and future implications of Quantum Computing in our world.

1 Day / 09.00 – 18.00

Location - Santa Monica
Max number of places - 20

Introductory rate until 19th Sept
£720 + 20% VAT
£900 + 20% VAT

Quantum computing is an emerging technology that may have dramatic implications for many kinds of computation in many different industries in the future.

In this workshop, you’ll get up to speed on the latest technical developments in quantum computing and participate in a speculative design exercise to explore the value and implications of this new technology in the future.

Express interest

Express interest above and we'll let you know when booking opens.

Matthew Neeley

Matthew Neeley, PhD.
Quantum Physisist
Software, Google Quantum A.I.

J. Paul Neeley

J. Paul Neeley
Designer & Researcher
Director, Neeley Worldwide
Tutor, Royal College of Art

A 5 day retreat on the future of business & design practice, connecting practitioners from different disciplines and backgrounds with deep time for reflection and untethering in nature.

5 Days / 9.00 – 18.00

Location - Driggs, Idaho, USA
Max number of places - 15

Introductory rate until 19th Jan
£2450 + 20% VAT
£2750 + 20% VAT

A residential retreat in nature designed to enable practitioners to leave the structures and systems that continually shape the way we work and think and access a reinvigorated and mindful approach to our design practice. This is a space in which to feel closer to the Earth we must all work to protect and to connect deeply with others from different disciplines and backgrounds.

The week will be structured around a series of intimate workshops utilising different emerging design practices and research methodologies. We’ll work as a group on design problems and prototype solutions, and allow space for deep reflection on and development of your own practice and thinking. As much as possible we’ll untether from the world, from screens. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of new design and research approaches and toolkits, your own practice, and set off with new partnerships and refreshed mind and body.

Express interest

Express interest above and we'll let you know when booking opens.

Explore a few of the things on our minds.

Current design & business practices tend to optimize for profit and fail to consider the larger cumulative impact of these activities over time, which eventually and inevitably leads to catastrophic collapse of systems, like the obesity epidemic, global financial instability, and climate change. If we are to restore and create healthy systems we need to develop new approaches to design that will allow us to find new paths forward that will avoid these catastrophic outcomes.

Design and business education today generally does not allow for such explorations, but rather reinforces existing paradigms, training designers and other professionals to operate in the very systems that are quickly bringing about the end of THE system. Having studied and taught at world leading design schools we've become increasingly frustrated by the scaling of these institutions, factory like experience, lack of 1:1 student / master interaction and the movement away from a traditional studio model of education and home for radical thought and critique that many of these schools have been in the past. Quality of work and discourse has eroded, and institutions are becoming shadows of their former selves.

Corporate design practice can be even more restrictive, not allowing teams to explore directions outside of near term businesses objectives, and failing to allocate time for design teams to properly reflect on their method and process, or the global impact and meaning of their work.

The School of Critical Design is a home for conversations, practice, and exploration around next design practice. Our name is a play on Dunne & Raby's critical design, and the school focuses on discourse around "critical" issues that will impact humanity now and in the future, for example, climate crisis, energy, food, artificial intelligence, biodiversity, post-capitalism. We’re creating a space for practitioners to develop further understanding of how design might contribute to this future.

Our lectures and workshops are generally created for exceptional junior, and mid to senior level professionals looking to explore what is next in their practice, and seeking to have new kinds of impact in their organizations and the world. These run as open courses for the general public, and we also create bespoke learning & development programs for organizations.

Questions? Comments? Interested in custom programs? Send us an email.

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