Suggestions from Art Practices


Alice Devecchi (ed)


The issue of empathy as an embodied, dialogic experience that potentially enhances the value of human relationships, constitutes the core of this book, which is mainly addressed to explore whether empathy is designable and how.
The emerging collaborative approaches to design call for a rethinking of how empathy is usually accounted for in this discipline. Empathy is not only a designer’s skill to step into the other’s shoes; it can be a dialogic experience that supports the unfolding of meaningful relations, laying the groundwork for collaborative design processes.
This book traces a theoretical framework for changing perspective on empathy in design, by integrating a phenomenological account. One that focuses on empathy's specific nature of intersubjective experience that introduces the other into one’s own personal horizon, paving the way for the acknowledgement of otherness as a value.
Empathy may unfold spontaneously within relational contexts, while still requiring its facilitation and support. If empathy is un designable, enabling conditions for its emergence can be set up. This study argues the case for a possible role of Art in suggesting strategies and models towards the successful setting of these enabling conditions.
In this perspective, an array of art practices – immersive, collaborative, and participatory – are analysed and squeezed to extract principles for designing the empathic experience. Principles converge then into guidelines, intended to offer a set of meta-design tools for fruitful collaborative processes.


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Author Biography

Alice Devecchi

She is PhD in Design. She is a researcher and teacher in History of Contemporary Art. Her research  interests lie on the boarder of the two disciplines and explore their mutual exchanges and interconnections. She wrote Giocare in casa. Il senso dello spazio e del movimento (Il Verri, 2012). About empathy and design she co-authored (with L. Guerrini) some influential publications, among which Empathy and design. A new perspective (2018) and Empathy for resilience (2019), awarded with the Best Paper Award at Cumulus Conference Rovaniemi 2019.


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November 29, 2023

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