NOW CLOSED Designers in Residence

Designers in Residence 2020: Care

Meet the designers and discover how they will respond to this year's theme, Care.


2020 Theme

Theme: Care

As we enter a new decade characterised by technological acceleration, 24/7 working, and climate uncertainty, there is a crucial role for design in supporting the ways we care for ourselves, each other and the planet.

It is clear that humans are impacting the ecological resilience and diversity of life on Earth. Designers are responding by exploring alternative tools and production systems that can protect and restore. Increasingly they are thinking about soil and biodiversity, how to supply clean water or revive endangered ecosystems. And, as designers always have, they continue to rethink how to keep people sheltered, fed and mobile.

Meanwhile, in healthcare, digital applications and devices are being designed to track the body’s performance, shifting the management of health away from medical professionals and into the hands of patients themselves. Paradoxically, these technologies are fuelling a data tracking culture that may be affecting our wellbeing. By contrast, designing holistic systems that encourage slower living and social bonding, and that manage resources equitably and sustainably, is imperative for communities to become more resilient.


Designers in Residence Showcase

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Meet the residents

Abiola Onabule

Abiola Onabule is a London-based fashion designer creating clothing inspired by elements of her own Nigerian cultural heritage.

For her residency, she will investigate how the exchange of craft and skills can become part of the act of care and conversation, through an exploration into the past, present and future stories of West African women living in the UK.

Cynthia Voza Lusilu

Cynthia Voza Lusilu is a London-based designer and researcher using design thinking and participatory practices to engage with marginalised communities.

For her residency, she will exploring mental health in Black British communities, designing a new support system that builds resilience and shapes healing spaces. Cynthia is also interested in the role that civic structures can play in reducing mental distress and achieving healthier cities.

Enni-Kukka Tuomala

Enni-Kukka Tuomala is a Finnish designer and artist. Her work aims to transform empathy from an individual feeling to a collective power for social change through installations, environments, tools and games.

For her residency, Tuomala aims to design an immersive empathy training programme, with a personal empathy trainer, an empathy gym, tools and exercises, to challenge perceptions of empathy, practice it and learn how to incorporate it into daily lives.

Ioana Man

Ioana is a multidisciplinary designer working between architecture, set design and critical practice. Her work aims to highlight the importance of microbial biodiversity in the built environment and the necessity to distribute its benefits fairly.

Ioana’s proposal is to develop a new body of work exploring how architecture can work with biology to create a more sustainable built environment that embodies health and justice.

designers in residence

The Designers in Residence programme at the Design Museum is a core part of the museum's activity, supporting emerging designers, from any discipline, with time and space away from their regular environment to reflect, research and consider new ways of developing their practice.


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Background image and DIR portraits by Felix Speller.