Colloquium announcement

Faculty of Engineering Technology

Department Design, Production and Management
Master programme Industrial Design Engineering

As part of his / her master assignment

Belle, J.S. van (Jonne)

will hold a speech entitled:

Weaving in the digital age



Recently, the way we act in the world has become increasingly digital. Human (social) practices are often mediated by technologies such as the smartphone. Setting aside whether this change is for the better, it has undeniable effects on how we are present in the world. People use their smartphones anywhere without regard to what takes place outside their screen. This makes the smartphone a subject of societal discussions: people are perpetually busy and burned out. It is said that we are ‘too much living in our heads’. Partly due to the extensive use of the smartphone, we tend to forget our bodily nature. In this thesis, I turned to the anthropologist philosopher Tim Ingold to investigate what our being-in-the-world amounts to in the digital age. Ingold is concerned with social practices and the value of circumstances that may arise to a body ‘in action’. We are constantly flowing along the lines that weave our being-human together. In this project, I have aimed, as a designer, to deepen my understanding of Ingold’s philosophy to both reframe design in the digital age and explore the methodology that I will call Philosophy-through-Design (PtD). This thesis has, thus, three perspectives of (1) design for the digital age, (2) Ingold’s philosophy and (3) doing PtD, that I have woven together ‘in action’ through a process of designing and reflecting.


In the PtD project, different interventions were created to stimulate inquiries of smartphone behaviour of the design researcher and various participants. As a result, a philosophical understanding of Ingold’s theory in the digital age was built as a hybrid material-digital world in which different activities are running simultaneously alongside each other, yet not integrated into a meaningful whole. Flowing along lines is more difficult, which makes it harder to make sense of the world we inhabit. These findings led to the Calm Connections design in which the smartphone is used to move through a digital space to make digital eye-contact before connecting together. It shows how the design of smartphones can be reconsidered using an Ingoldian perspective with a focus on flow, movement and skill. Finally, the PtD approach proposes a promising method in which design can function as a way to materialise philosophy. In other words, to let pragmatic design scaffold abstract philosophical inquiries to bring philosophy back into the everyday. By combining philosophy and design, both can benefit from describing, understanding and proposing the ways in which technologies interact with societies.