Beyond Frameworks: Designing With Ethics

workshop – 120 min | Feb 4 – 10:00

The influence of design is often made clear by its unintended consequences. Movements like Cradle to Cradle and the Web Accessibility Initiative illustrate how these realizations have often spurred remarkable developments in how designers regard ethics as a critical tool in their creative process.

Today, designers—particularly those working in social media, IoT, and other Big Data driven projects—are responsible for work that raises questions about the kind of society we aspire to build. Their decisions impact whose voices are heard, which information is utilized, and how beliefs are justified. They impact how communities form, how citizens decide, and how governments operate.

Ethical codes of conduct provide a helpful framework for designers working in these fields, but they are not sufficient on their own (just as style guides are not a substitute for design). They do not help in the hard decisions integral to the process. What if critical ethical thinking was instead an essential part of the design process, not just a guide at the beginning of a project or a checklist at the end?

At Ethics Lab, our team of designers and philosophers develops creative and practical tools to work through complex moral problems and envision alternate courses of action. In this workshop, we’ll cover techniques for students to surface ethical issues and address the moral landscape of design challenges.

Ethics Lab is a creative hub for ethics education at Georgetown University, combining philosophical tools and design strategies to tackle emergent ethical issues. Through our courses and collaborations, we help students develop a moral lens that turns to ethics not simply as a guardrail but as a creative tool for progress.

Jonathan Healey

Jonathan Healey
Georgetown University, United States

About the speaker

Jonathan Healey

Jonathan Healey

Georgetown University, United States
Jonathan leads the creative projects and outreach efforts of the Institute’s Ethics Lab with a special focus on developing the Lab’s educational capacity. Formerly a professor and program director at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Jonathan’s courses have focused on creative processes across disciplines and Experience Design at the intersection of physical and digital landscapes. His professional practice spans many scales and forms, including urban design, architecture, exhibition design, and sensor-connected digital products. Jonathan’s role at Ethics Lab combines his interests in education design, interdisciplinary learning strategies, and human-centered practices.

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