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.

You will hear from data, engineering, political, software, urban planning, visual, and many more leading industry experts.

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.



2022 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.

Design for Collaborative Robotic Environments

CfD Conversation Series | 04/01/2022

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

CfD Conversation Series | 02/25/2022

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

CfD Conversation Series | 01/21/2022

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 Conversations

Design for Assembly: Public Art/ Public Space

CfD Conversation Series |12/03/2021

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

CfD Conversation Series |10/29/2021
Musical Thinking: The Design of the Sonic Experience, a panel of artists, researchers and professionals, will look at what is unique to musical thinking and what, instead, sound design has in common with other design methods.

CfD Conversation Series |9/24/2021
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

CfD Conversation Series |4/23/2021

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 for Misinformation

CfD Conversation Series |3/26/2021

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

CfD Conversation Series |2/26/2021

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

CfD Conversation Series |1/28/2021

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 Conversations

Molly Wright Steenson – The Stakes of AI in Design

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.


Ezio Mazini – Discountinuity: Politics of the Everyday in the Post-Pandemic Phase

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

Watch on Facebook

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.

Want to Stay Up to Date on the CfD?