Center for Design Events

The Center for Design hosts panels, conversations, exhibitions and workshops to spark conversation amongst working professionals in the field of design.

Take a look at our past events below, and sign up for our newsletter, or check back on this page to learn about upcoming events.

Design Research Week

The Center for Design at the Northeastern University College of Arts, Media and Design invites you to join in a week of presentations, conversations, studio visits, exhibits, and workshops with colleagues working in design.


CfD Conversations

The Center for Design Conversations monthly series addresses the multifaceted expressions of interdisciplinary design research and invites research players within and outside NU to discuss some of the most actual and urgent research directions.

In every session, a faculty from the CfD curates and coordinates a panel of researchers and professionals from NU, external research centers, companies, agencies, and/or other organizations – to share their research around a particular topic, and invite the broader audience to discuss and share perspectives and ideas.

2022 CfD Conversations Series

Designing with AI: Approaches & Methods




This conversation explores opportunities, challenges, and the potential impact of augmenting design processes through AI. The outcomes, methods, and approaches of a collaborative interdisciplinary research initiative will set the stage for a broader conversation on how data, information, and algorithms change the way we approach and perform design, and what the practical, theoretical, and ethical implications might be.


This will be a hybrid event, with speakers and guests participating in person as well as virtually.


Data Sonification: Beyond the Visual




To set the stage for a renovated series of the CfD Conversations, the Center for Design partnered with MEET Digital Culture Center to create an articulated event that included a panel, a curated exhibition with a selection from our Data Sonification Archive, and a live performance with a sound artist sonifying real-time data about draught. Beyond the Visual. Hearing Data Between Science and Emotion is a multi-voice discussion curated by Paolo Ciuccarelli (Founding Director of the Center for Design) and Sara Lenzi (TU/Delft) on Data Sonification, the new frontier for pushing the boundaries of data representations and creating holistic “data experiences.”…

Disciplinary Perspectives of Patient-Centeredness




This round table discussion is meant to develop an understanding of the different disciplinary definitions of patient-centeredness in the context of health-related projects and research. Participants may bring important context from their respective fields by participating in a group discussion about patient-centered design in various contexts and engaging audience members in Q&A. This is also an opportunity for the community to share projects that they might be working on and learn from others within Northeastern to promote alignment.



Design for Collaborative Robotic Environments




Robotic systems and devices are becoming ever more pervasive in our workplace environments. Rather than being machines that force their modalities of operation upon workers the promise is to create responsive systems that adjust and adapt their operations to human practices, supporting the emergence of new forms of work. A panel, curated by CfD faculty member Kristian Kloeckl (Art + Design, Architecture) looks at profound questions that arise as designers, architects, engineers and developers find new ways to address the emerging condition of collaborative robotic environments.

Designing Dance: Embodiment, Ephemerality, and Experience




Dance is polysemic and pluralistic, referring to a broad range of embodied practices that often create confusion as to what dance is, what dance can do, what it can mean, and what purpose(s) it serves.

This panel of choreographers will introduce methodologies of choreographic thinking that trouble visual dominance in favor of inner, kinesthetic experience and illuminate distinctions in designing in, through, and for the body. Our aim is to showcase how dance may correspond with the more familiar methodologies of design thinking and inform the exploration of embodied experiences through somatic practices.

Visualizing the Invisible: COVID-19 and Information Design





Our screens are flooded with data visualizations giving us insights into the past, present, and future of the Covid-19 pandemic. How do designers and scientists apply the art of information design to visualize a global pandemic?

In this conversation industry experts discuss collecting visualization and the visualizations being collected: live-mapping global clinical trials, national vaccination program, predicting the trajectory of the pandemic.


2021 CfD Conversation Series

Design for Assembly: Public Art/ Public Space



How do we design inclusive spaces of assembly that respond to place-specific narratives?


This panel explores how artists, architects, curators, and community organizers are working together to re-imagine the existing urban fabric of two Massachusetts neighborhoods through the lens of public art. Building on their collaborations with local residents and stakeholders, panelists will share their perspectives on the expanding role of temporary and participatory art projects to active vacant sites, engage local planning processes, and give shape to the collective memories of a neighborhood.

Musical Thinking: The Design of the Sonic Experience



Every day, we are exposed to hundreds of sonic experiences.


From the music we like to the subtle nuances of natural soundscapes and the intruding complexity of urban sounds, over the course of our lives we learn to decode sonic information and emotionally react to sound. More and more, sound is becoming a tool in the hands of designers to enhance users’ experience and complete our relationship to products and services. But how are sonic experiences designed?  How does the multi-faceted interrelation between sound and design – included for the first time in history among the themes of the Design Research Society Conference in 2022 –  impact interdisciplinary design research? This panel of artists, researchers and professionals, will looks at what is unique to musical thinking and what sound design has in common with other design methods.

Service Design Tools in the Age of Societal Change



This event’s featured panelists are the creators of the Service Design Tools, a platform famous for its foundational impact in the service design discipline. They discuss why tools are so essential in service design and consider the future direction of service design represented by these tools. Service is often characterized by intangibility; therefore, service design tools have played a crucial role in the design process and in the co-production of the stakeholders.



Rethinking Design Thinking in the Pluriverse



How might designers venture to develop understandings to help people do things together better?


The panelists will share their explorations of collective action, resource sharing, difference and sameness, conceptions of the sacred. Together they will offer a view of the worlds from which they speak, and ask what kinds of design thinking might be needed to create more resilient and convivial communities.

Designing Solutions to Misinformation



Global companies are searching for universal solutions, yet different societies have varying needs and sensitivities. Solutions of various kinds have been proposed, and technology companies continue to experiment with interventions, including removal, algorithmic reduction, and labeling. This discussion will focus on potential design-related solutions and novel approaches that might expand the menu of options for dealing with problems associated with the proliferation of misinformation.

The Future of Games for Health



This marks a major milestone for digital medicine and for the use of games for health generally. Around the same time, a first-of-its kind surgery was performed with augmented reality on a living patient. Both events and the pandemic itself bring up the question of what the future of games for health looks like. This panel looks at the challenges and opportunities of emerging technologies (AI, AR, VR), the implications of a post-pandemic world, and what critical role (game) design has in further advancing the current trends.


The Physical Life of Data



Data visualization and related practices are currently experiencing a material turn.


As designers explore new material expressions and performances of digital information, what we describe as  “data” is no longer limited to symbols and numbers, but is increasingly seen as embodiments in the world. A panel, curated by CfD faculty member Dietmar Offenhuber (Art + Design, Public Policy) looks at the potentials of material data practices as a tool for public engagement, critical inquiry, and societal discourse addressing large societal challenges.

2020 Lecture Series

The Stakes of AI in Design

Molly Wright Steenson



The CfD hosted an open conversation with Molly Wright Steenson, historian, designer, writer, and professor who works at the intersection of design, architecture, AI, and ethics. She is the author of Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, Fall 2017), a history of AI’s impact on design and architecture. She is also the co-editor of Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press, 2019) with Laura Forlano and Mike Ananny, an edited volume that asks, “If the Bauhaus were around today, what would keep it up at night?” Currently, she is writing about the stakes in the emerging conversation on AI, ethics, and design.

Discontinuity: Politics of the Everyday in the Post-Pandemic Phase

Ezio Mazini



The CfD hosted Discontinuity: Politics of the Everyday in the Post-Pandemic Phase with Ezio Manzini. The digital talk, which attracted more than 100 guests, offered examples of social innovation that show how, even in these difficult times, a better kind of society is possible. Manzini drew from his most recent book, Politics of the Everyday, which asserts that by bringing autonomy and collaboration together, it is possible to develop new forms of design intelligence, for our own good, for the good of the communities we are part of, and for society as a whole.

Center for Design Launch Event


Designers and creative-thinkers from across Northeastern University and throughout Boston gathered for the CfD launch event, Human by Design, which served as an overview of the CfD’s nature and structure, a celebration of the initiatives being incubated within the center, and the first in a series of lectures hosted by the CfD. The event brought together members of the Northeastern community – faculty, staff, and students – and working professionals – from design-focused firms and labs such as IDEO, Hacin + Associates, and metaLab (at) Harvard – as well as representatives from other universities, the Boston Mayor’s Office, and the Italian Consulate General. Together, these guests spearheaded meaningful discussions surrounding technology, data, design, artificial intelligence (AI), visualization, and more – with the celebration of design at the center.


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