Professor Cameron Tonkinwise is an international expert in design studies and transition design and the Research Director of the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS. He writes and speaks extensively on the power of design to drive systems-level change to achieve more sustainable and equitable futures.
Cameron has long advocated for the field of Design Studies and its importance to ensuring the social responsibility of design professionals. His expertise has reshaped traditional thinking around how designers should be educated, and he has established Design Studies programs at the Parsons The New School for Design (New York), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and UTS, among others, that have transformed international design curricula. He has written a number of influential articles on design thinking, design ethics, design research and speculative design.
More recently, Cameron has emerged as a leading voice in the field of Transition Design, as part of his long-standing research and teaching around Sustainable Design. He was an early champion of the Sharing Economy while taking over the leadership of the EcoDesign Foundation from its founders, Tony Fry & Anne-Marie Willis. This expertise shapes Cameron’s work at the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS, which has a focus on multidisciplinary social and service design research. Under Cameron’s leadership, the research team now incorporates a transition design focus into their projects, tackling immediate, organisation-specific design challenges while simultaneously addressing the underlying systemic issues that cause these challenges to occur. Current work includes a project to help Australian banks transition toward more inclusive services and even act on behalf of vulnerable community members suffering financial abuse, and a project to help energy providers better understand how to design changes in everyday household life that will enable more sustainable distributed energy systems.
Cameron is a highly sought-after speaker at academic and industry conferences and events: among others, he has delivered invited keynote addresses at NorDes, LeanAgile Scotland, the Australian Design Research Conference, AgileAustralia, and Media Architecture Biennale. He has been on the editorial board of Design Philosophy Papers since 2003 and Design and Culture since 2009; he is also a regular reviewer of articles for Design Studies and book manuscripts for Bloomsbury.