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Do No Harm for Design: Introduction to DNH framework – Dr. Pardis Shafafi Sun, Oct 15 (6pm EST)

Design is an act of power. With the privilege and power connected to practicing design, we need to be aware of our responsibilities towards the systems and people we design for and with and be better prepared to assess more nuanced and complex ethical discussions.

‘Do no harm’ is the Hippocratic oath guiding healthcare physicians to “be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future” and to have two approaches towards their field, “to do good or to do no harm”. Design, unlike healthcare, does not have a shared set of ethical guidelines that can hold the practice accountable for designing responsibly. When contextualized within design practice, Do No Harm does not mean to ‘do anything’. It means avoiding exposure to additional risks through the designers’ actions. The intention is to take a step back from an intervention, understand the broader context, and mitigate potential negative effects that might impact the social fabric of our societies, economies, and environments.

Dr. Pardis Shafafi (co-founder of the framework along with Giulia Bazoli) will explore the landscape of design harm that we all live and work in, before advocating for Do No Harm within and for design. Finally, we will introduce the Do No Harm framework, which is a practical tool to support design practitioners in considering and applying ethics in projects and across the design process.


Audiences Will Leave With: 

  • A clear set of insights about what it means to apply ethics across the design process
  • A framework you can use on projects to reduce harm and work towards reducing harm and building better futures. 
  • A sense of community and belonging with design practitioners who may have similar questions swimming in their brains
  • Insights and learnings from off-record conversations
  • Bellies full of pizza!


About The Facilitator:

Dr. Pardis Shafafi is a British Iranian anthropologist and Strategic Design Lead at Designit’s Oslo studio. She has over 15 years of cross-sectoral experience, ranging from scrubbing into clinical care and managing humanitarian programs in active war zones to guiding diverse clients through complex design processes and better futures. Pardis continues to be active with think tanks and journals, advising on the European Union Off-Site project and teaching and supervising design students on Do No Harm and Political Anthropology. As a public-facing academic, she is a regular contributor to media and has been active with international outlets like Al Jazeera and the BBC.


  • 6:00-6:15 pm Arrive at DSI
  • 6:15-7:15 pm Presentation from Dr. Shafafi
  • 7:15-7:30 pm Q&A
  • 7:30 pm+ Pizza + more connections


RSVP Eventbrite or email:

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