University of Strathclyde

Guddle: Designing Futures

The Scottish word ‘guddle’ is commonly used as a term for a mess. In a lot of design projects, researchers are striving for clarity and precision. Many see messy findings as a poor outcome of a research project. The idea that things in the world might be fluid or messy is usually unacceptable. Designing our futures is a complex concept. If we want to shape the world effectively then we need to be able to deal with mess.

Often the messy aspects of the design research are hidden from public exhibitions. ‘Guddle: Designing Futures’ presents a number of design-led stories and innovative work from diverse categories and frames of inquiry. These stories are intended to encourage fellow design researchers to persist, problem-solve and create opportunities during the design process.

Mess, mistakes and failure are part of any design and manufacturing project. Design is a creative and transformative force that can help to shape our lives in more responsible, sustainable and valuable ways. It is clear that design research and practice pervades an increasing number of places and this plurality is evident given the wide range of approaches in contemporary design. Various forms of design engineering now routinely appear in a vast array of disciplines in and around modern design praxis, including business, computing and healthcare.

‘Guddle: Designing Futures’ embraces this head-on and will showcase ground-breaking projects that hint at what might become. Glasgow is a diverse and dynamic city. A city that sometimes represents extremes and contradictions in political, social, cultural, industrial, technological, environmental and economic contexts. Glasgow has serious problems with health inequalities yet it has one of the best design and manufacturing ecosystems and visual arts and cultures scenes in the UK.

In ‘Guddle: Designing Futures’, works of staff and students from across the Faculty of Engineering will go on show, with a Strathclyde core connecting to Glasgow, offering innovative ways to design and produce new outcomes for the future city. The project showcases co-designed and locally developed interventions in collaboration with multiple partners that present new methods and ways of working and living in a post-industrial city such as Glasgow interlinking with the world. For many years now, it has been considered that globalisation is waning and transforming into new conditions yet to be defined. The exhibition will provide fresh insights into what is possible for the future. Ever-growing planetary challenges demand both global and local solutions and working interconnectedly is more critical than ever.


The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university. Located in the heart of Glasgow – one of the UK’s largest cities. The vibrant, international community is home to 3,500 staff and almost 23,000 students from over 100 countries delivering world- leading research, outstanding education and student experience and transformative innovation and impact. More than 200 years after its foundation in 1796, the University of Strathclyde continues to make a contribution to society which is distinct, broad and deep. Established as ‘the place of useful learning’ – with a mission to make the world better-educated, prosperous, healthy, fair and secure – Strathclyde continues to live by socially progressive values, putting sustainability at the heart of its strategy through its commitment to deliver against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management (DMEM), one of eight departments at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, is an internationally leading department tackling complex global challenges and providing learning and research for society which is both innovative and industry-focused. DMEM’s unique focus is on ‘Delivering Total Engineering’ through research excellence, industrial partnerships and innovative design education.



DMEM Department of Design

Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Faculty of Engineering

University of Strathclyde