This article addresses the aspect of historicity in design. Following the leads of designers and design historians and inspired by the philosophy of G. H. Mead, it argues that design includes not only an orientation towards future change, but also an imagery and narration of the past. This aspect of historicity establishes both a motivation for change and evokes the agentive identities that can act to achieve the desired change. By analysing three cases of innovative cultural performances, involving intentional cultural change, the article also aims to show how anthropologists can make a critical contribution to design by facilitating explicit reflections on and constructions of the past.

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