The Spirit of Design

Research that expands understandings of sustainability to include notions of personal meaning that encompass spirituality and substantive values

This research combines the development of theory and argument with practice-based creative design research within a process comprising theoretical advancement, reflection and propositional design.

Selected publications and presentations in this area include:

Walker, S., The Spirit of Design: Objects, Environment and Meaning, Earthscan, London, 2011.

Richards, B., Walker, S., Blair, L. Cyber-Sustainability: leaving a lasting legacy of human wellbeing, Alt-HCI Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, July 4-8 2011

Walker, S., The Spirit of Design: Objects,  Environment and Meaning, Keynote Address, Responsible Design Conference, Design Turkey 2010, Istanbul, December 8th 2010.

Walker, S., Wordless Questions: environment, meaning and propositional objects, Keynote Address, Annual International Workshop on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement, DeSFORM2010, Lucerne School of Art and Design, Lucerne, Switzerland, November 3-5, 2010.

Walker, S., Meaning in the Mundane: aesthetics, technology and spiritual values, Cumulus 2010 Conference, Tonji University, Shanghai, China, September 6-10 2010.

Walker, S., ‘Touchstones: conceptual products for sustainable futures’, Keynote Address, European Futurists Conference, Lucerne, Switzerland, October 15th-16th 2009. This conference is aimed at professionals and corporate leaders from a wide range of industries. Video and slides available on website:

Design PhD Studies in this area: Prof. Walker is one of several faculty members involved in the Design PhD conference – an annual event offered in conjunction with Northumbria University. He is particularly interested in hearing from potential Design PhD candidates with interests that would fall within the broad themes of design for sustainability and/or design and human meaning (values, spirituality etc.), or who have interests in practice-based design research.