Sustainable Product Design and Development

In its teaching and research, the department is dedicated to generating and reflecting on design knowledge in relation to questions of sustainability. The goal is to inscribe in the discipline of design a reflection on the ecological and social consequences of its actions as design sustainability and to offer alternative usage scenarios for designed environments. 

The teaching aspect focuses on familiarizing students with the practical application of methods of reflection and with the tools for critical examination, guided by theory. The understanding of teaching here is grounded in recognizing design practices as knowledge practices. In teaching design sustainability the department will follow the cycle of Perception – Action – Reflection and will imbed this in a wide variety of (everyday) practices (for example, discarding) as a critical standard. Compact seminars and events are meant to make such as understanding of sustainability, in the sense of the ecological and social responsibility of design, easily comprehensible for the individual students and to make it applicable to professional practice.

Current research and discussions on the themes of SDGs, in particular Discard Studies, social-ecological research, as well as the design theory of things form the network in which the department carries out its research. It follows the approaches of design research, using design itself to generate knowledge (Research through Design).

Research interests include but are not limited to

  • the question of how the design of education (didactics) can meet the demands of design sustainability and which tools and designs of education reflect the current problematic and can provide options for solutions;
  • practice-based design, its theorization and utilization within the framework of social-ecological research;
  • rituals of disappearance in physical and digital environments.  

Kassel Institute for Sustainability
As a cross-section discipline, the department, and in particular the Institute for Sustainability that is current being formed, seeks to build a bridge between the humanities and the natural sciences by offering new ways (methods, perspectives, and objects) to approach the problem area of SDGs and to interpret findings. Alongside cross-curricular offerings in teaching, the goal is create a common space that will concentrate the resources found at the university and the Kunsthochschule as the starting point for joint projects. 


Mludek, Katharina

Research Associate | Sustainable Product Design and Development

Dr. Ritzmann, Susanne

Professorship for Sustainable Product Design and Development