USA, Columbus, Ohio State Desis Lab

For Admission

Starts: 20 December, 2018
Duration :
Instructors: USA, Columbus, Ohio State Desis Lab
Phone :
Email :

Ohio State Desis Lab

City: Columbus, Ohio

Country: USA

Susan Melsop, Associate Professor,;
Dr. Sébastien Proulx, Associate Professor,

lab’s mail address, telephone number:
100 Hayes Hall, 108 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, USA, 43210,


Hosting institution: The Ohio State University, Department of Design, 100 Hayes Hall, 108 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, USA, 43210, 614-292-6746,

Background and objectives

The DESIS Lab at The Ohio State University is housed within the Department of Design in the College of Arts and Sciences. Created in 2018, the Lab serves to formalize and expand the department’s ongoing commitment to design driven social innovation, environmental stewardship, and social entrepreneurship through research activities, course offerings, and curriculum development at graduate and undergraduate levels. As a land-grant university with a mission to “educate for citizenship”, OSU provides a supportive and scholarly environment for the department to advance the research and teaching of social innovation education and positively impact communities in need. With a desire to foster social and ecological good through design pedagogy, the Department of Design has developed outreach and engagement partnerships with local, regional, and international NGOs and non-profit organizations to address real-world challenges. Current partnerships include designing and building with a local nonprofit agency in Columbus, Ohio to rehabilitate a community center, engaging with the National Movement for Street Population in Sāo Paulo, Brazil to improve the lives of a homeless population, and working with Ohio State Library services to address literacy issues among college students. Design Matters in Brazil, Free Little Libraries, and social innovation coursework in Health and Public Policy are each examples of the social impact courses available. Our partnerships and project-based courses aim to leverage design as an agent for change, serve communities in need, and provide students with experiential, placed-based learning in highly situated contexts.

List of projects and research

  • Design Matters in Brazil

Design Matters in Brazil is a partnership between Ohio State University and Mackenzie Presbyterian University that engages with an NGO, the Movimento da População de Rua (PopRua) to support their vision and mission to help a homeless population through work training, education, and cultural activities.

  • Design and Public Health

This project aims to build bridges between the realms of Design and Public Health. The primary goal is to examine how design can be leveraged as way to develop public health measures and policies to motivate people toward healthy behaviors.

  • Transforming parking garages aesthetic experience to support suicide prevention measures. Exploring Innovative Suicide Prevention Strategies Through Experience Design

In response to six recent tragic incidents where OSU students took their own lives in the campus parking garage, our project is bringing together designers, suicide prevention experts, makers, technologists, and community members to imagine and prototype mediation intervention that may transform parking garage lived experience.



  • Prof. Susan Melsop
  • Dr. Sébastien Proulx


  • Adam Froome

Graduate Students

  • Simon Lalonde
  • Will Nickley


Proulx, S. (2018). Designing for the vulnerable: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Concept of Proxy as Ethical Framework. International Journal of Design in Society, 12(4), 45-53.

Gauthier, P., Proulx, S., & Hamarat, Y. (2018). L’esthétique de la santé publique. Proposition pour une analyse des qualités des expériences de service. [Aesthetic of Public Health. Towards an Analysis of User Experience Qualities of Services]. Sciences du Design, 7, pp. 86-103.

Proulx, S.(2015). Le design à l’épreuve du concept de pratique, Sciences du design, (2),16-26.

Proulx, S., & Melsop, S. (2018). Caution Roadblocks Ahead!  Hosting a Design Driven Social Innovation Lab in a Research-Intensive University. In Proceedings of the 2018 Cumulus Conference, Césaap, Paris, France, 11-13 April 2018.

Proulx, S., Gauthier, P. & Hamarat, Y. (2017). Qualities of public health. Towards an analysis of æsthetic features of public policies. In Proceedings of Re: Research, 2017 IASDR Conference, Cincinnati, OH.

Melsop, Susan. “Community Design Matters, A New Model for Learning”, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6.

Melsop, Susan. “Craft and Affective Domains of Meaning Making: Engaging Hand, Head and Heart for Sustainable Transformative Learning” In Making Future- Interfaces Between Craft Knowledge and Design: New Opportunities for Social Innovation and Sustainable Practice, Vol.3 of the Making Futures on-line journal, 2013.

Melsop, Susan. “A Socially Innovative Approach to Co-Creating Community” in Urban Ecologies, 2013.