DESIS Otago is located at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand. We are part of the international DESIS Network of research institutions which are actively engaged in research with a focus on Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability. 


Otago Polytechnic has a strong organisational focus on community-centred research and on experiential learning for students. We have incorporated sustainability into all the programmes we offer and into our own institutional practices. We have developed a local tradition of co-design with community organisations, using social and environmental histories and contemporary experiences, and designing innovative experiences, brands and messages that live in public spaces, and sometimes as exhibitions in museum and non-museum spaces. Through these projects we are able to connect design students and researchers, in collaborative ways with citizen engagement and local storytelling.


Our DESIS Coordinator is Associate Professor Caro McCaw who can be contacted on We welcome enquiries and collaboration opportunities.

Our design disciplines include Communication Design, Fashion, Product Design, Food Design, Architectural Studies, Information Technology, and Engineering Technologies. We have been offering design degree programmes since 2005 and design postgraduate programmes since 2010. Our School of Design has been a member of the international Cumulus network since 2007.

DESIS Otago was established in 2020, drawing on our experience of earlier research projects such as these, at the intersection of design, sustainability and social innovation. Past projects are showcased here.

OP Research DESIS Otago