Cameron comes to UTS from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design where he was Director of Design Studies and Doctoral Studies. Before that he was the Associate Dean Sustainability at Parsons The New School for Design and co-Chair of the Tishman Environment and Design Center at the New School in NYC.
Cameron has a background in continental philosophy and continues to research what design practice can learn from material cultural studies and sociologies of technology. His primary area of research and teaching is Sustainable Design. Cameron is widely published on the ways in which Service Design can advance Social Sustainability by decoupling use and ownership – what these days is referred to as the ‘Sharing Economy.’ He has also been a strong advocate for the importance of critical practice-based design research. Cameron’s current focus, in collaboration with colleagues at CMU and an international network of scholar-practitioners, is Transition Design – design-enabled multi-level, multi-stage structural change toward more sustainable futures.
Can supervise: YES
Design for Social Innovation
Philosophy of Technology
Willis, A. & Tonkinwise, C. 1998, Timber in Context: A Guide to Sustainable Use, Construction Information Systems Limited, Sydney.
Timber in Context demystifies the debate about the harvesting of timber and its use for construction. This balanced guide (NATSPEC Guide 3) will help specifiers make informed decisions about the selection and sustainable use of timber based on the application, the anticipated life span and the nature of the project. The properties of more than 50 timber species are tabulated and timber use in Sydney 2000 Olympics projects is discussed.
The Anthropocene acknowledges that the volume of designed things is now harming the sustainability of the ecosystems on which current ways of living depend. As a result, there is an urgent need for us to do things differently. But how differently? The history of the idea of ecology has involved putting limits on tolerable diversity. For this reason, ecological politics can be compatible with anti-immigration politics. This article argues instead for a critical diversity, one that can counter the current Proactionary Imperative, which extols high risk but potentially high return, radical technological responses to our societies' unsustainability. That critical diversity would embrace designing for migration between connected slow, local, communities.
Tonkinwise, C 2016, 'Committing to the Political Values of Post-Thing-Centered Designing (Teaching Designers How to Design How to Live Collaboratively)', Design and Culture, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 139-154.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Tonkinwise, C 2016, 'Failing to sense the future: From design to the proactionary test drive', Social Research, vol. 83, no. 3, pp. 597-624.
This article treats the rise, and perhaps fall, of Design Thinking as a prompt to ask: "What is Design studies?" or rather, "What could Design studies be?" Using the heuristic of a sWOt analysis, it is argued that recent shifts in cultural theory toward material practices afford Design studies opportunities to expand beyond a mere liberal arts supplement to the education of designers. However, Design studies is facing challenges from shifts in both the discipline and business of digital interaction design. It is consequently concluded that Design studies needs to move beyond its current pluralism. © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2014 Printed In The UK.
Tonkinwise, C 2014, 'How We Intend to Future: Review of Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming', Design Philosophy Papers, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 169-187.View/Download from: Publisher's site
a debate with the co-author Cameron Tonkinwise of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, as to the ontological acumen of art versus design.
The current vogue for design in management discourses results in abstractions of the design process that repress the role of aesthetic judgments. This paper offers an explanation as to why design-as-styling is being neglected or concealed, and then explains what is at stake. It theorizes that a key aspect of the agency of designing, as the creation of artifacts to facilitate activities, lies in this taste literacy of designers. The framework for the argument of this paper is Pierre Bourdieu's notion of 'habitus' and the notion of 'style' as proposed by Fernando Flores and his coauthors. The paper argues that designers are hermeneutists of proximal taste regimes, for the possibilities of new styles of action. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tonkinwise, C 2011, 'Only a God Can Save Us – Or at Least a Good Story: I Sustainability (because necessity no longer has agency)', Design Philosophy Papers, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 69-80.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Tonkinwise, C 2017, '"The Practically Living Weight of Convenient Things"' in Atzmon, L & Boradkar, P (eds), Encountering Things: Design and Theories of ThingsA, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 47-58.
Tonkinwise, C 2017, 'Post Normal Design Research: The Role of Practice-based Research in an Era of Neoliberalism' in Vaughan, L (ed), Practice Based Design Research, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 29-42.
Tonkinwise, C 2017, 'The structure of structural change: Making a habit of being alienated as a designer' in Egenhoefer, RB (ed), Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design, Routledge, pp. 433-455.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Tonkinwise, C 2017, 'Transitions in sociotechnical conditions that afford usership: Sustainable who?' in Egenhoefer, RB (ed), Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design, Routledge, pp. 349-358.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017 selection and editorial matter, Jonathan Chapman; individual chapters, the contributors. While sustainable design strives for quantifiable change, it has a history of ending up advocating for radical socioeconomic change. For instance, life cycle assessment (LCA) research pushed sustainable design researchers to promote systems of shared product use as a way of radically reducing the materials intensity of society. Initial efforts toward these 'product service systems' in the mid-2000s proved premature. This chapter describes more recent changes to information technologies and their use within consumer societies that appear to be more compatible with 'sharing economies'. Pathways for transitioning toward more sustainable ways of resourcing everyday life appear to be opening up. However, these opportunities are not without their own dangers: lifestyles structured around 'usership' rather than ownership may be less materials intense, but also less autonomous. Designers have considerable power in determining which way 'sharing economies' turn.
Tonkinwise, C 2016, 'Everyday homeopathy in practice-changing design research' in Design as Research: Positions, Arguments, Perspectives, pp. 83-90.
Tonkinwise, C 2014, '"Design away"' in Yelavich, S & Adams, B (eds), Design as Future-Making, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 198-213.
Titmarsh, M. & Tonkinwise, C. 2010, '"Art versus Design: Saving Power versus Enframing, or A Thing of the Past versus World Making"', 21st Century Heidegger Conference, University College Dublin, Ireland.
Dialogue between two paper presenters, Mark Titmarsh and Cameron Tonkinwise concerning the ontological importance of art as against design.
Tonkinwise, C. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2006, 'What things know: Exhibiting animism as artefact-based design research', Working Papers in Art and Design, Volume 4, The Role of Context in Art and Design Research, Research into Practice 2006, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, pp. 1-14.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper develops a way of evaluating designed artifacts as research. It focuses deliberately on design, on the generation of new knowledge that can happen when making things for use. It works with an account of the making process proposed by the literary philosopher, Elaine Scarry, as clarified by the sociologist of technology, Bruno Latour. Scarry argues that there is an animism at the heart of making and in the background of all use of artefacts. To this extent, artefacts are judged, in everyday use as well as the professional design process, by how deep and wide and active their knowledge of human needs and desires is. This paper suggests that given that this animism is inherent to the process and outcomes of design, artefacts can also be judged by whether they promote new knowledge about human needs and desires, though such judgments can only be made on the basis of carefully staged use experiences of the designs.
Tonkinwise, C. 2003, 'Interminable Design: Techne and Time in the Design of Sustainable Service Systems', European Academy of Design conferences - Techne Design Wisdom, European Academy of Design conferences, University of Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Spain, pp. 1-16.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This report outlines accessUTS feedback and recommendations to the concept designs of the proposed Sustainability Display House at Parklea.