Chiara Del Gaudio is a designer, researcher, and instructor in Design. She is Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator at Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design. She holds a Ph.D. in Design from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, an MSc in Design & Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the same institution. She has been teaching Design at both undergraduate and graduate levels in Brazil and Canada, and she has been Visiting Professor in Italy and the US. Her education and practice, teaching, and research experience bring elements from strategic and participatory design, together with a critical studies in design perspective, and knowledge on the design of processes, systems, services and products. After working as a product and service designer, her design practice has mainly focused on Design’s social and political dimensions in projects at the intersection between the university and local communities.
She has been working on applied design research projects addressing more democratic, inclusive and sustainable urban contexts, design processes and outcomes. Since 2014, she has also worked as a strategic consultant for small service and innovation enterprises in Brazil and, more recently, in Canada.
Chiara Del Gaudio’s main research and practice interests are Design as a political process, Participatory and Collaborative design approaches, Strategic Design for Social Innovation, and power and conflict in Design processes. Within this framework, her research mainly focuses on designers’ contribution towards more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable societies. Specifically, she seeks to explore how designers can promote the conditions for them to happen and design processes for self-determination. In this regard, she researches: how power plays out in the design process, dynamics of oppression and resistance by design; how Design can prevent dynamics of discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization; the issues inherent to ‘dominant design’ knowledge; and how to evolve the existing Participatory and Strategic Design practice through the concepts of tactics, devices, and strategies, and the theories of complexity.
Moreover, she has been researching the limits, challenges, and risks related to collaborative and participatory approaches when applied in society, and mainly in conflict-affected and fragile urban areas; and the necessary conditions for this kind of Design practice. She founded and she leads the Urban Imaginaries Lab (www.urbanimaginarieslab.com). She also is an active member of the design research community at the national and international levels. In Brazil, she organized and re-designed the national Symposium on Sustainable Design in 2015 and 2017. In 2020 she organized the 16th Participatory Design Conference on the theme “Participation Otherwise” and is part of its Advisory Board. She was invited to discuss and present her work in national and international events and seminars. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as CoDesign, the International Journal of Design, Urban Design; and in edited collections such as Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon. She has worked with members of the Participatory Design network to foster the discussion of emerging topics in Design and Participatory Design, such as decoloniality, plurality and pluriverse, oppression and resistance, and gender issues within design processes. She two special issues for the Strategic Design Research Journal.
|Art-design and research project that through a series of activities aims to prompt reflections on what the city is while exploring some possibilities of what it could be. The activities will support the local community in exploring, counter-mapping, and reimagining the city. Among them, there are: soundwalks, urban walkabouts, critical mapping sessions, creative workshops, and radio show episodes. The project emerges from an interdisciplinary collaboration between Carleton University’s Urban Imaginaries Lab (School of Industrial Design), Communication and Media Studies Program, and Ottawa Coffee House Arlington 5 (A5).|
|A5 work in progress
2021 – present
|This action-based research project aims to understand how to design, and the configuration of, a business model for local small businesses based on community support and engagement, which will allow them to act as a self-regenerating strategy (seeding) for the constant generation and diffusion of sustainable socio-cultural innovation. It is done in collaboration with a small local business, Arlington 5.|
|Tackling gender oppression by embracing transgression in Design
2021 – present
|This research project, exploratory in nature, aims to understand how Design can support the transgression of socially defined gender norms and, therefore, address gender oppression. It will also reflect on the relevance of embracing transgression in design processes towards increasing the creative potential of design practice and enabling plural possibilities of being.|
2019 to present
|This research project aims to strengthen the democratic potentialities and dimensions of co-design processes. Its main goal is to promote an understanding of where and when co-design processes are not democratic and promote awareness about how the decisions taken by the participants of a co-design process can influence the wider context.|
|Gendered Design in STEAM in Low and Middle-Income Countries
2019 – present
|A three-year research program financed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and managed by Carleton University (Canada) aiming at identifying, supporting, and promoting a community of experts in LMICs in Latin America, Africa and Asia engaged, or interested in engaging with Gendered Design as a potential field of practice and research.|
|Thinking Making Doing
|A project set up in collaboration with SEBRAE-RS in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Through a Service Design and Strategic Design approach, the project aimed at designing new services for 10 local collaborative spaces that could work on an ecosystem level.|
|Design for Democracy
|A series of activities (events, design, and research activities) to reflect and promote reflections on the relationship and strong convergence between Design and Democracy, as well as to promote new design practices related to four dimensions of this relationship: (1) design of democracy; (2) design for democracy; (3) design in democracy; (4) design as democracy. The topic was addressed through lectures, round tables, and design activities that allowed knowledge exchanges and building between experts from different academic areas and the local community. Here is the final statement produced together with the participants: http://democracy-design.designpolicy.eu/statement/chiara-del-gaudio/|
2016 – 2017
|A research project conducted in collaboration by University Brunel London and TransLab (a social innovation laboratory, localized in Porto Alegre, Brazil), and financed by Newton Fund and British Council. The project consisted in the development and implementation of a program for helping NGOs in co-designing with young people from local favelas new businesses that could contribute to the local context|
|Transformando o Serviço em PMEs
|A research project set up with SEBRAE-RS in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Through a Service Design and Co-Design approach, the project aimed at redesigning the innovation processes of 10 small local businesses.|