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Sébastien Proulx, Ph.D.

Sébastien Proulx, Ph.D.

Sébastien Proulx, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Graduate Studies Chair | Industrial Design Coordinator
Pronouns: He, Him, His / Honorific: Dr.


125B Hayes Hall
108 North Oval Mall
Columbus OHIO 43210

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Office Hours

Friday 10 AM to Noon

Areas of Expertise

  • Industrial Design
  • Social Design
  • Design Studies
  • Public Health
  • Moral Sociology
  • Care Ethic


  • Postdoc in Public Health, IRSPUM, Université de Montréal
  • Ph.D. Design, Université de Montréal
  • M.A.Sc. Design and Complexity, Université de Montréal
  • B.F.A. Graphic Communication, Université Laval
  • A.A., Liberal Arts, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf

Select Recognition

  • CoEditor-in-Chief, Sciences du Design
  • Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) Educator Award, 2022
  • Award of Excellence in Design. University of Southern Mississippi National Poster Competition, 2023
  • Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Grant, 2020
  • Qualification à la fonction de Maître de Conférence, Conseil National des Université de France, 2016
  • Grafika Award, Montreal Canada, 2008

Current CV [pdf] Academia.edu ORCID Research Gate Teaching Portfolio

Sébastien Proulx is Associate Professor of Design, Graduate Studies Chair, Coordinator for the Industrial Design major and Co-Director of the DESIS Lab at The Ohio State University. He holds a PhD in Design and a Master of Applied Science in Design and Complexity from the University of Montreal (Canada). He completed postdoctoral studies in public health at the University of Montreal Public Health Research Center (IRSPUM). During his graduate studies he completed a doctoral fellowship in political and moral sociology at the Paris School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and master level fellowship around the topic of Orientation/Disorientation at the Institut Design2Context at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Z HdK) in Zurich. In 2022, he received the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) Education Award.

Before joining Ohio State’s Department of Design, Dr. Proulx was an instructor at the University of Montreal’s School of Design for 12 years. He taught social service design, problem setting and visual communication to industrial design students. He was also a recurring visiting speaker at the University of Nîmes (France) where he intervened in the Design for Social Innovation graduate program.

Dr. Proulx serves as CoEditor-in-Chief of the francophone peer-review journal Sciences du Design (PUF). He also remains affiliated, as a research associate, to the University of Montreal’s Design et Société research group. 

His research program revolves around the role of designers in the development of public services and policies. His approach draws on moral sociology and care ethics to develop an appropriate conceptual framework to provide designers with ways to cope with the complexity of contemporary social and political realities. His researches focus on 1) understanding designers’ role in the sociopolitical realm (theoretical axis), 2) expanding the horizon of design activities in the development of public services (practical axis) and 3) making designers capable of assuming the responsibilities associated to such a stance (pedagogical axis).

Sébastien Proulx est professeur agrégé, coordonnateur du programme de design industriel et co-directeur du DESIS Lab à L'Université d'État de l'Ohio. Il détient un doctorat en Aménagement et une Maîtrise en Sciences appliquées (Option Design et Société) de l'Université de Montréal. Il a également complété un stage d'étude postdoctorale en santé publique à l'Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique de l'Université de Montréal et un stage doctoral en sociologie politique et morale (sous la supervision de Laurent Thévenot) au sein du Groupe de Sociologie Politique et Morale (GSPM) affilié à l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) de Paris.

Active Community and University Service and Leadership

  • Graduate Studies Chair
  • Industrial Design Coordinator
  • Co-Editor in Chief, Sciences du Design
  • Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme, Advisor Board
  • University Senate (Alternate)
  • College of Reviewers, European Science Foundation
  • Lab Coordinator, DESIS Network, Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability
  • Groupe Design et Société
  • Design Research Society (DRS)
  • Chaire de recherche en économie créative et mieux-être (CREAT)

Current Research

  • Design as a Care Practice
    Question the conceptual proximities between Design and Care Ethics.
  • Building Bridges between Design and Public Health
    Determine the extent to which a person-centered design approach may contribute to the development of socioculturally fitted public health strategies.
  • Politics of User Experiences
    Develop indicators to better understand the general economics of social design methods and study their relevance, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses.
    Research conducted in collaboration with: Philippe Gauthier (U of Montreal); Marie D. Martel (U of Montréal); Johanne Brochu (Laval U)
  • Problematization in Design: Problem Diagnostic Strategies & Methodologies
    Examine theories and methods through which designers engage with problematization
  • Digital Public Participation Lab
    Explore how the Hyve-3D system can support the agency of lay people in the decision-making process in public participation
    Research conducted in collaboration with: Tijs Van Mansakkers (OSU, Knowlton School); Susan Melsop (OSU, Design); Jason Reece (OSU, Knowlton); William Nickley (OSU, Design)

Current Teaching

Graduate Research Advising (current students)

  • Jennyfer Harb, Master in Design , Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, France (Advisor)
  • Catalina Munoz Arias, MFA in Design (Design Research and Development), Ohio State University (Committee Member)
  • Sofia Soledad Duarte Poblete, Ph.D. in Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy (Committee Member)
  • Chloé Dutruc-Rosset, Individualized PhD (Design and Rehabilitation Science), Université Laval, Canada (Committee Member)

Undergraduate Research Advising (Selected list)

Teaching Portfolio

Selected Publications

  • Proulx, S.,and Nickley, W.(2023) Sparking Creative prowess through a peculiar design challenge: a mocktail design charrette, in De Sainz Molestina, D., Galluzzo, L., Rizzo, F., Spallazzo, D. (eds.), IASDR 2023: Life-Changing Design, 9-13 October, Milan, Italy. https://doi.org/10.21606/iasdr.2023.781
  • Gauthier, P., and Proulx, S. (2022) Differential Moral Framing and The Design Imagination, in Lockton, D., Lloyd, P., Lenzi, S. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June - 3 July, Bilbao, Spain.
  • Vial, S., Gauthier, P., Gentès A., Leboeuf, J. & Proulx, S. (Eds.) (2019). Sciences du Design, 10, “Nouveaux Regards” [Sciences of Design, nb. 10, Novel Perspectives]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
  • Proulx, S. (2021). Between Gut Feeling and Structured Reflective Process. The Art of Making Diagnosis. Journal Design Research, 19(1/2/3), 46–58. DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2021.10043662
  • Proulx, S. (2021) Teaching Problematization of a Design Capstone Project. Presentation of a Pedagogical Tool. International Journal of Designs for Learning. 12(3), p. 129-142.
  • Proulx, S. (2019). Questioning the Nature of Design Activity, Through Alasdair MacIntyre’s Account of the Concept of Practice. The Design Journal, 22(5), 649-664.
  • Lehoux, P., Proulx, S. (2019), Deliberating as a public representative or as a potential user? Two complementary perspectives that should inform health innovation policy. Healthcare Policy. 14(4), 28-38.
  • Gauthier, P., Proulx, S. & Münch, F. (Eds.) (2019). Transformer, Innover, Dérégler. Les actes de la 10e conférence des Ateliers de la recherche en design. [Transform, Innovate, Disturb. Proceedings of 10th Conference of the Ateliers de la recherche en design], Montréal, Canada, October 21-24, 2015. Montreal: Édition Design et Société.
  • Proulx, S., Gauthier, P. & Hamarat, Y. (2019). Qualities of Public Health. Towards an Analysis of Aesthetic Features of Public Policies. In Vogel C. and Muratovski, G (Eds.), Re: Research, Volume 4: Design and Living Well. Bristol, UK: Intellect, pp. 13-25.
  • Proulx, S. (2018). Designing for the Vulnerable: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Concept of Proxy as Ethical Framework. International Journal of Design in Society, 12(4), 45-53.

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