Design (In)actions Paper Presentation by Erik Sandelin

3 November 2020

Last week Erik Sandelin, PhD student at Konstfack and KTH, presented the research paper "Design (In)actions" at the NordiCHI conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Tallinn, Estonia.

The paper is based on a workshop held in the "Undesigning Humans" node at Konstfack Research Week 2020. It was co-authored with Sarah Homewood from the IT University in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The abstract
Sometimes the best decision may be to not design. But you can "not design" in different ways. There are emerging discussions of using design’s destructive potential to hinder, eliminate, "undesign" unwanted technologies and practices. In this paper we argue that informed and carefully crafted not-doings should also be considered valid and generative design acts. Through discussing a series of inaction-related design projects we propose the concept of design (in)actions. An (in)action is the informed, articulated and designerly decision to not act. Through the concept of "designer killjoy" we frame risks and stakes of such moves. We discuss how design inactivism – design (in)actions mobilised for activist ends – inform and develop current conceptualisations of design activism. Finally we propose design (in)actions as a useful tactic for "gracious design": more-than-human design moves characterised by forsaking human privilege through leaving be.


Paper presentation at the NordiCHI 2020 conference.

Contact Erik Sandelin,, if you want to read the full paper.