Guy Julier

design – culture, criticism, history, activism, politics, all of it


News and Events 2019-2021


Keynote Talk “Las economías del diseño y lo cotidiano: explorando sus relaciones a través de la investigación”

12° Seminario Internacional de Investigación en Diseño (SID12) , Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, 22 September 2021



15-18 August 2021:  Nordes Conference

Elise Hodson and I are presenting a paper entitled ‘Value, Design, Scale:  Towards a Territories and Temporalities Approach’ at the Nordes 2021 conference. Our paper can be found in the proceedings here https://conference2021nordes.org/program/ 


Thursday, 15 April: https://barcelonareact.cat/en

I’m presenting a set of critical provocations on creative economy policies and practices as part of this ReAct Barcelona event.
Event in Spanish, Catalan and English.

Page 1 of my notes. Make sense of them if you dare.

Page 2 of my notes.


New publication

Julier, G. (2021) The Promise of the Creative Industries, Design Work and Livelihoods in Form follows Finance. Copenhagen: Parole Compendiums

I recycled parts of a chapter from Economies of Design and built on it for the Copenhagen project  Parole: “Parole describes contemporary phenomena through the eyes of design; design as discourse, design as intentions, design as materialized manifestations of ideas. Designing is not only the act of creating timeless beauty and functionality, in late capitalism, it is the business of materializing dreams, desires and fears of consumers. And as such we, designers, must reevaluate our self-image.”

Form follows Finance is an editorial project run within Parole by Asmus Lauridsen and Johanne Aarup Hansen.



EU Design Day: Social Dimension of Design, Co-creation and Civic Engagement

Wednesday 25 November

I spoke on ‘The Elusive Value of Social Design’: https://errin.eu/events/eu-design-days-2020

My notes



Design and its Cultural Value:  in Conversation with Penny Sparke, Mes del Diseño, Chile

Tuesday 17 November


Notes for my 15 minute starter talk.


Design Culture Salon 31: How Can You Make a Living as a Design Activist?

Monday 9 November, 1400h (EET)
Public Panel Discussion Event

Panel discussion with

Päivi Ravio (Studio RaivioBumann, Helslnki),
Adrià Garcia i Mateu (Holon, Barcelona),
Johanne Aarup Hansen (PengeSpekulation and Parole Compendiums,Copenhagen)

Chair: Guy Julier

Arguably, activism through design is as old as the profession itself. However, since the 2008 financial crisis, new possibilities for designers to work as activists have opened up. The range of activist practices and ways of doing these has grown. While these may have been motivated by genuine desires to effect change, many of its exponents have come up against challenges in working professionally. What financial models are available for work in design activism? How do economic pressures affect practices of design activism? Can you change the world and pay the rent at the same time? Our expert panel will discuss these and many other related questions in this Salon.

Blog coming soon: https://designculturesalon.org



A joint piece on how Helsinki thinks it can be sustainable… but can’t. Mostly written by Eeva Berglund with a few flourishes and angry bits by me.

Berglund, E., and Julier, G. (2020). Growth in WEIRD Helsinki: Countering Dominant Urban Politics and its “Green” PretentionsSociální studia/Social Studies17(1), 13-31.



Conference presentation

I dug out my #Colleex project I instigated last year and developed it in a presentation entitled ‘What is 60 Minutes in Smart Kalasatama?: experimenting with performance as method’ at  Urban-Related Sensoria:  Environments, Technologies, Sensobiographies :  International Conference on Sensory Transformations 10–12 June 2020



Festival Talk

I teamed up with my good friend and collaborator, Lucy Kimbell, to talk about:
Social Design: Realities. Opportunities. Possibilities.
How to Work:  Experimental Design Research Festival, Hamburg 8 July 2020

Notes for my talk


Book Chapter

Julier, G. (2019) ‘Can Design Ever Be Activist?:  The Challenge of Engaging Neoliberalism Differently’, in Tom Bieling (ed.) Design (&) Activism:Perspectives on Design as Activism and Activism as Design, Berlin: Mimemis


Making and shaping things in creative economies

From history to present day

Dates: 28-30 November 2019
Location: Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Confirmed keynotes: Guy Julier (Aalto University), Javier Gimeno-Martinez (VU Amsterdam)



Social Design Institute, University of the Arts London: inaugural event

Date: Thursday 19 September 2019

Venue: London College of Communication (LCC)
University of the Arts London
Elephant and Castle
London, SE1 6SB.

Keynote: Staying with the Problem: Social Design Research and Practice

Professor Guy Julier, Head of Research and Professor of Design Leadership, Dept. of Design, Aalto University, Finland.

Time: 6pm – 7.30pm |  Drinks reception: 8pm – 9pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre A, LCC




Design History Society Annual Conference 2019

Keynote Speaker
‘Fixing Liquidity, Making Change Reasonable:  Design, Finance and History’
The Cost of Design, University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
5-7 September




Nida Summer School — Venice

The 5th Nida Doctoral School
Fight The Power 2019/1989: We, the Ungovernable
26-31 August 2019



Everyday Experiments

1 March – 1 September 2019
Finnish Pavilion:  XXII Triennale di Milano

Chief Curator:  Kaisu Savola
Commissioner:  Guy Julier

Symposium:  Friday 24 May

Photo: Monica Romagnoli


The Past as Catalyst for the Future:  historical knowledge in design education and research




Symposium Thursday 4 April, 2019,  1 pm – 5 pm
To mark the retirement from Aalto University of Professor Pekka Korvenmaa

Aalto University
Otaniementie 14, Espoo

Free event.
All welcome.


prof. emer. Jonathan Woodham,  University of Brighton: “Meeting the past, experiencing the present: Some thoughts about design history”.

prof. Sara Kristoffersson,  Konstfack, Stockholm: “Why history matters”.

Panel discussion with main speakers and: Leena Svinhufvud(Museum lecturer, Designmuseum, Helsinki); Guy Julier(professor, Dept. of Design, Aalto University); Kaisu Savola(doctoral candidate, Dept. of Design, Aalto University).




O U T POST Ed. 3 continues the series of thematic evening events organised by POST Design Festival. This time we collaborate with FAOD – Forbundet Arkitekter og Designere – in investigating the theme of PROFITS.


We are very proud to present to you designer and theorist Guy Julier (Aalto University) and designer Johanne Aarup (PengeSpekulation).
Thursday, January 31th from 18:00-21:00 at
ENIGMA, Øster Allé 1, Copenhagen

Who profits from design? The global rise of design is intimately entangled in the spread of neoliberal thinking. A key element of the success of neoliberalism has been financialisation, where design plays a crucial part in adding value to places, products, services, and messages.

But how does design actually function in this system? How has neoliberalism shaped aesthetics? How does it affect your own working life, the type of work you do and relations to your collaborators? Who profits in the current economies of design and who should profit in the future?

In this third edition of O U T POST we will learn how neoliberalism has shaped not just the design of cities, policy, working life, public sector, and education but even our language in the course of just 40 years. Our speakers will present different strategies for working with, against, and around neoliberalism and help us imagine a world beyond our existing systems of economy.

Through simple exercises, we will reflect on the speakers’ points and help formulate new questions and ideas, creating an open discussion between our two speakers and the audience.

The ambition with O U T POST is to develop, enhance and spread the critical debate concerning the political, social and ethical aspects of illustration, digital and graphic design in the Nordic region and beyond.

The O U T POST events are in English and open to everyone. However, you will need to register and bring a ticket. Please come early.

Johanne Aarup is a Danish designer working within graphic, service and relational design. Among other projects, she is involved in PengeSpekulation(Money Speculation) – a design-anthropology collective, engaged in investigations, experiments, and public interventions at the intersections between economic worlds, design, anthropology, and art. The group formed in 2016, drawn into the enigmatic nature of money, its semiotic, material, and technological relations, and frustrated by the lack of political will to enact systemic change following the financial crisis of 2007-09. Across a range of exploratory and communicative projects, PengeSpekulation allows money to emerge as a designed and social phenomenon, one which takes many forms and is tied to varied societal effects. For this talk, PengeSpekulation will discuss existing and future monetary systems, both official, alternative and speculative, from a design perspective, reflecting also on the groups organisational work processes and their view on design as a political practice.


Design Culture Salon 27: What are the limitations of user-centred design?

Free Public Panel Discussion Event

Wednesday 12 December, 1300h
Register on Eventbrite

Lecture Theatre U4 / U142
Otakaari 1
Aalto University
02150 Espoo

Campus map

Claudia Garduño García, Partner, Design Your Action, Mexico City
Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor of Co-Design, Aalto University
Rose Matthews, Helsinki-based designer specialising in underserved populations

Chair:  Guy Julier

The term ‘user-centred’ design comes with a range of associated practices, including human-centred design, participatory design and co-design. As with these, user-centred design has a mixed pedigree, including developments in the 1960s stemming from ergonomics in Scandinavia and elsewhere and human-computer interaction (HCI) explorations of the 1980s. It therefore covers a variety of expected ‘users’, objects and situations as well as politics.

But does the term risk reducing conceptions of users to mere consumers? How does it engage, if at all, with social practices beyond the individual? Does it capture the complexity of economic, social and cultural contexts and actions? Who is the user in any case!!??

These and many other questions that will be debated.


Biographies of panellists

Claudia Garduño García is Partner and Research Director, Design Your Action, Mexico City. Design Your Action is an NGO focused on exploring collaborative solutions that are innovative, pertinent and relevant to complex social situations. Its object is to community action at various levels of social innovation that improves quality of life and collective wellbeing. Claudia was Project Manager of the Aalto LAB in Mexico and holds a PhD in design from Aalto University.

Sampsa Hyysalo is Professor of Co-Design at the Aalto School of, Art, Design and Architecture. Sampsa’s research and teaching focus on codesign, user involvement in innovation and the co-evolution of technologies, practices and organizations. He received his PhD in Behavioral Sciences in the University of Helsinki and holds a Docentship in information systems, specialising in user-centered design.  Sampsa has published over 40 peer reviewed articles (jufo ranked), 10 refereed book chapters and 5 books, out of which the two most important are The new production of users: Changing innovation communities and involvement strategies (with Elgaard Jensen and Oudshoorn, Routledge, 2016) and Health Technology development and use: From practice-bound imagination to evolving impacts (Routledge, 2010, New York).

Rose Matthews is a Design and Innovation Lead with global experience in developing new interventions for public health and in identifying economic opportunities for restricted income communities. Having initially trained as a nurse in the UK, Rose turned to design as a way to achieve greater impact on a larger population and has never lost sight of that aim. She currently works on global health, financial inclusion and government programmes with a focus on underserved populations.

Design Culture Salon – Helsinki

The Design Culture Salon is back in action.

Its first Helsinki event is at 1400h on Wednesday 24 October.

Design Factory
Aalto University
Betonimiehenkuja 5C
02150 Espoo

Päivi Hietanen
,City Design Manager of the Helsinki Lab.
Petteri Kolinen, CEO Design Forum Finland
Kari Korkman, CEO Helsinki Design Week
Suvi Saloniemi, Chief Curator, Design Museum Helsinki

Chair:  Guy Julier

Free Public Panel Discussion Event
Booking not required.

After a 16 month break, the Design Culture Salon is re-established in Helsinki. We are starting off with a local question of  ‘What is Finnish Design Culture?’.

Finland is hot. Hardly a day goes by without an article in the international press extolling the virtues of Finland’s more equal society, its high happiness index and, of course, the strength of its design. But what are Finnish design’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? How is Finnish design culture shaped and what consolidates it? How does the turn towards service design and design thinking re-shape conceptions of Finnish design? Is it appropriate, in an era of globalisation, to talk about design in national terms?

These are just some of the questions we shall be discussing with our panel.