||Objective: To expand the availability of ideas across disciplines about the theory of design based on practice by inviting a panel of design thinkers to share their experiences with applying theory through project work.
Goals: The first is to understand the theoretical framework used in a project, what the theoretical limitations were, and what advice could be shared with others relying on similar theories. Critiques should be accompanied by an alternative theory or framework or lessons learned. The second goal is to explain how at least one "broad" concept used in anthropology was explored through the design process, such as neoliberalism, pedagogy, or poverty, among others.
Background: Ten years ago the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology published an edited volume arguing for anthropologists to test theories outside of academia. Since the publication of "Unity of Theory and Practice in Anthropology: Rebuilding a Fractured Synthesis" (eds. Carole Hill & Marietta Baba 2000), design anthropology has blossomed. It is recognized as an innovative sub-discipline with skilled ethnographers hired to solve problems dealing with products, services, and public policies. Anthropologists and others involved in design are uniquely situated to revisit Hill & Baba’s suggestions for applying theory and informing the broader academic community of their findings.