Graphic Design Urgencies

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This Research & Knowledge Exchange Doctoral Project brief summarises our priority areas of research interest under the heading of: Graphic Design Urgencies.

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with and in response to this brief.

Project brief details

Design has, until recently, maintained a culturally stable reputation as a force for good. This, despite its many misdemeanours, and in the face of several counter-rhetorical movements of the previous century (Mitrovic et al, 2021). However, design scholars and activists are increasingly rejecting this position, arguing that design is not only materially complicit in contributing to environmental precarity, but ontologically responsible for reinforcing, maintaining, and legitimising such unsustainable conditions. Of particular concern is design's relationship to extractive capitalism: where biophysical resources are seen as endlessly replenishable, and human–nature relationships are viewed as devoid of value beyond utilitarian ends.  

Within this context, there is an urgent need for the reorganisation and transfiguration of graphic design and graphic design education towards critical practices of resistance and remediation. The Department of Graphic Design at Falmouth aims to actively support and develop new approaches to the discipline (practice, education, industry) that address these concerns. To this end, we invite radical, transgressive, post-disciplinary research proposals — both practice-based and text-based — oriented towards generating transformative graphic design practices and/or discourses. As an expanded field, this might include (but is not limited to): traditional graphic arts (typography, publishing, branding, etc.); communication design; interaction design; experience design; design ecologies; design critique; design pedagogy; and critical design. Of particular interest are projects that test, challenge, and propose new models of practice and/or economies of design in relation to disciplinary degrowth; postcapitalist subjectivities; environmental politics; and human/other-than-human relationships. The intended impact of the project should be clearly articulated in the proposal. 

This project will be supported within one of the following research clusters in the Faculty of Creative Arts & Communication: Environmental Futures; Critical and Creative Narratives; Creative Pedagogies. 


Ivica Mitrović, et al. Beyond Speculative Design: Past, Present - Future. Split, Arts Academy, University Of Split, 2021. 

Strategic alignment

Projects deriving from this brief are expected to sit within the Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy and the following department.

Department School of Communication

All successful research degree project proposals must emphasise a clear alignment between the project idea and our Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy. 

Project brief lead

Robyn Cook
Robyn Cook

Project supervisor: Dr Robyn Cook

Robyn's research is focused on (inter alia) critical pedagogy, epistemology, & ethics in design & design education. 

Since 2016, Robyn has developed & led the MA Communication Design at Falmouth University — a transdisciplinary, transformative postgraduate programme.

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How to apply

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We welcome all research degree applications aligned with this Doctoral Project brief. ​To apply in response to this brief or learn about the application process click the button below.

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Project brief & project proposal enquiries

To discuss this project brief, ideas or project proposal responding to this brief, please contact: Dr Robyn Cook.


Application enquiries

For all other application related enquires please contact the Research & Development team.


T01326 255831

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