Need a fresh listen to go with your morning commute? This week, we’re sharing a few of our favourite podcasts on design and the impact it has on our daily lives. From candid conversations with leading changemakers to deep dives on topics like regenerative design, here are five great titles to add to your queue.
with Grant Gibson
About the podcast: In each episode of Material Matters, host Grant Gibson talks to a designer, maker, artist or architect about the materials they most love to work with. Usually, the conversation flits between the personal and the professional, with topics ranging from the creative potential of bacteria to the politics of baking bread.
Why we picked it: This podcast will remind you that the possibilities of design are endless. It puts the spotlight on innovators like Elaine Ng and Fernando Laposse, who are crafting beautiful products using materials like eggshells and corn husks. It also asks urgent questions about the future of making, exploring how techniques like 3D-printing or upcycling might change the way our industries operate.
Endless Vital Activity
by Accept & Proceed
About the podcast: Endless Vital Activity is a series that brings radical thinkers, artists, and scientists together for wide-ranging conversations about how we can collaborate to solve the world’s biggest problems. Hosted by designer David Johnston, the current season is all about unpacking the systems we take for granted: from rethinking women’s healthcare with Jessica Ennis Hill to reshaping urban design with Michael Pawlyn.
Why we picked it: This is a podcast that aims high, and usually succeeds in serving up critical perspectives on diverse topics like digital rights and Indigenous design. We love that their guest selection includes creative industry staples like Seetal Solanki and Liam Young, but doesn’t shy away from more unusual figures like philosopher Charles Eisenstein and climate activist Clare Farrell.
by Nairobi Design Week
About the podcast: The founders of Nairobi Design Week launched the Afrika Design podcast to bring the world on a ‘creative tour of Africa’. Each episode tells the story of a different artist from the continent, from type designer Osmond Tshuma in Zimbabwe, to queer poet Senetisiwe Ginindza in Eswatini.
Why we picked it: For too long, African design has been talked about from a Eurocentric perspective. This series returns the microphone back to local talents who defy expectation and challenge the narrative of a singular African aesthetic. Previous topics include the use of film as a tool for protest, the visibility of Black women in tech, and the impact of colonialism on East African architecture.
with Katie Treggiden
About the podcast: Katie Treggiden is a writer, educator and curator who specialises in design for the circular economy. She created Circular to investigate the creative industry’s tricky relationship with waste, and highlight the work of designers who are innovating new materials and processes for a better world.
Why we picked it: If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of circular design, this is the podcast for you. Listeners can expect an engaging, optimistic look at how designers can help reduce the impact of all the things that we make, use and eat. This includes practical conversations about how to use waste as a resource, but also questions that dig deeper, like: What drives our culture of consumption? Can repair be aspirational? And what can traditional knowledge teach us about sustainability?
Conversations with Map Project Office
About the podcast: The newest podcast on the list, Where Next? is the result of a collaboration between Map Project Office and Disegno. Through lively conversations with a rotating panel of industry leaders, the show tackles some of the big questions facing design and technology today.
Why we picked it: The inaugural episode is all about the fetishisation of newness in design — a fascinating topic that is handled brilliantly by host Oli Stratford. Joining him in conversation are four design heavyweights with unique perspectives on the issue: Richard Stevens, Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, Priya Khanchandani and Hella Jongerius. Give it a listen if you’re looking for fresh takes on hot-button issues like planned obsolescence, the changing value of craft, and the impact of disposable design.