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Designed Ecology 

Projects —

  — Water post—2043 
  — Nature-as-stakeholder [WIP]

    —Regenerative Futures

    (Re)wilding the City


    A more-than-human manifesto
    Modular Habitats 2.0


Arrogant Urbanism
Sparrow Speculations
Modular Habitats
The Blackbird

Designed Ecology explores the role of design in shaping eco-centric. Through a combination of design research and design practice, Designed Ecology attempts to unpack the often fraught relationship between humans and nature in cities and urban spaces. 


Climate Evolution Optimists

“What a beautiful thing!”
Chris Clarke
Deputy Creative Director
The Guardian

UK / 2020

C.E.O’s*     *Climate Evolution Optimists

The outcome of a year long design post within the Graphic Design Department
 at The University of the West of England. 

Each year, final year students work collaboratively to generate content, edit and design a collective publication (@future.ceos) around a theme they decide is important. This year, students worked closely with designer Lauren Davies (@designedecologie) and with Senior Lecturer and Designer Marco Ugolini.

Opening Statement

We live in a world that is characterised by growing uncertainty and complexity. The scarcity of resources, biodiversity loss, global pandemics and climate change threaten future generations and will require global collaboration in order to effect urgent action over the coming decade. At the same time, changing demographics, digital technology and urbanisation will impact economies, businesses and communities, radically affecting all aspects of daily life. The future, therefore, will be determined by our ability to address today’s social and environmental challenges in order to meet the needs of nearly ten billion people.

Although there is no way to know what the world will look like in 30 years, there are tools and practices that can allow us to explore the possibilities of what our future could look like beyond 2050.

Discussing plausible future conditions helps us to challenge existing bias and assumptions about what is possible, engaging our curiosity and imagination. Many designers are beginning to take on the role of building and sharing such future scenarios. This practice tends to be framed as Speculative Design and allows for the co-creation of visions of a future worth working towards. We cannot predict the future, but our ability to imagine possible futures can help guide the solutions we create and the decisions we make today, so that we can shape a better world.

Play and creativity are just one approach to predicting such future scenarios. In the context of the climate crisis, it is clear now more than ever that we need a different approach to the current narrative, one that is accessible, localised and engaging. One that moves away from alarmist, 24/7 global news cycles.  
The Future C.E.O.s, or Climate Evolution Optimists - creatively and inclusively explore climate futures in 2050, using methods of speculative, critical and participatory design. These explorations are an accessible, playful entry or re-entry point to the climate conversation. Speculating on daily life in Bristol, 2050, through the lens of current climate projections, the C.E.O.s seek to engage those groups disenfranchised by current media platforms, to think differently and to engage in community focused conversations, debates and action around climate issues.

The design process is contextualised in the year 2050 due to this period being represented by many respected current climate models. Any parents reading should understand that the futures set out in this publication might be a reality for their children, the C.E.O.s of the future, thus facilitating an emotional and intellectual connection to this near-future world. Locating these speculations within the Global North, in the western civilised city of Bristol, the C.E.O.s hope to use their privilege and position to engage those demographics who have the ability to minimise climate change, by consuming less. Speaking out to the very demographic who may assume that climate issues will not affect them in this wealthy, technological society.

The C.E.O.s want you to know that the future is fiction. It is a new normal that we design collaboratively, limited only by our assumptions and the collective lengths of our imagination. If playful and creative practices such as Speculative Design are placed at the forefront of design education, into public realms for debate or to even inform government policy, we can start to challenge our existing assumptions and begin to design our preferable collective future.

“The process we went through meant navigating teamwork, sharing and listening to ideas, collaborating on a large scale and (most importantly for the students), experiencing a project from the outset, until the moment you are holding it in your hand.
We began with a few zine and making workshops, based around the theme of Solastalgia, climate-based media narratives and speculative climate-focused future scenarios. This stemmed from a report evidencing that the @arnolfiniarts gallery (the building in which the Graphic Design studios sit), could be 50cm underwater by the year 2050.

By speculating on potential climate futures here in Bristol, we sought to engage those groups disenfranchised by current 24/7 media cycles, to think differently and engage in community focused conversations, debates and action around climate issues.”

- Lauren Davies
Publication Director

Press / Features

Creative Boom Feature: Class of 2020

And that's not what you'd expect it stands for: CEOs, in this case, means 'Climate Evolution Optimists'. Here lies a hint of the theme for this year's BA Graphic Design graduate show at the University of the West of England.

Live now – Visit the show

Lecture in Progress: Taking it to the streets of London, workshops & immersive digital spaces
Even in the absence of a physical degree show, the graduating students at UWE were determined to go out with a bang. This year’s showcase from the Graphic Design BA produced an online end-of-year publication to celebrate their design skills, as part of a long-standing project called CEOs (Climate Evolution Optimists).

Design Week’s favourite projects from graduate season so farThe Class of 2020 has had an unprecedented end to their university careers but the work from this year’s grad shows impresses all the same – here’s our favourites so far.

Each year, final-year graphic design students at UWE are tasked with working collaboratively to generate content for, edit and design a publication around a theme they feel is important. This year’s theme devised by the students was climate change. Work began on the publication in the form of zine workshops based around the theme of “Solastalgia” (emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change). Throughout the project, the members of the surrounding Bristol community were involved, with the aim of engaging people who felt disenfranchised by the 24/7 media cycle and help them re-enter conversations, debates and action around climate crisis.

Featured: The Anti-Library
Data for the digits. Worldweaving / post-fiction / xenodesign / speculative futures / altered realities.

Design Team

Lauren Davies

Emilia Bermejo-Ford
Visual Identity & Content Adviser

Sam Boik
Events management & Ethnographer

Rachel Bonner
Editorial & Layout Designer

Marta Celio
Editorial & Layout Designer

Sienna Chapman
Visual Identity & Photography

Sally Mosley
Digital Designer

Daniel Schenck
Editorial & Layout Designer

Leah Williams
Producer & Social Media Manager

Produced by:
Final year students.
BA (Hons) Graphic Design
University of the West of England 2020

Published by Typenowhere.
Typenowhere is the publishing wing of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.

Typefaces: Kepler Std Basic Sans

Printed by: Taylor Brothers

C.E.Os: Climate Evolution Optimists


ISBN 978-0-9576217-7-0

Copyright © Typenowhere