PhD by Design - Instant Journal #3 - Exploring what the future holds for practice-based PhDs (2016)

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phd PhD Instant journal

Exploring what the future holds for practice-based PhDs

by design design ISSUE THREE

Created at PhD by Design Satellite Session 27th - 30th June 2016 Design Research Society Conference This document will be accessible at PHDBYDESIGN.COM #phdbydesign @phdbydesign facebook/phdbydesign

Instant journal (Print) ISSN 2396-846X Instant journal (Online) ISSN 2396-8478




ORGANISING TEAM Alison Thomson Goldsmiths, University of London Bianca Elzenbaumer Leeds College of Art Maria Portugal Goldsmiths, University of London

DISCUSSANTS Alex Wilkie Goldsmiths, University of London Bill Gaver Goldsmiths, University of London Cameron Tonkinwise Carnegie Mellon University Guy Julier University of Brighton/Victoria & Albert Museum Jonathan Chapman University of Brighton Joanna Boehnert University of Westminster Ramia Mazé Aalto Univeristy Rebecca Ross Central Saint Martins Terry Irwin Carnegie Mellon University Tobie Kerridge Goldsmiths, University of London

foreword PhD by Design is a forum where to vocalise, discuss and work through many of the topical issues of conducting a practice-based PhD in design and to explore how these are re-shaping the field of design. The Instant Journal is dedicated to gathering materials produced during PhD By Design events. Issue #3 has been produced during the Design Research Society conference held in Brighton from the 28th - 30th June 2016. The Call for this issue was formulated as 31 questions (page 49) generated during the PhD By Design day on the 27th June, at the start of the conference. The resulting materials have been collected throughout the conference.

LOCAL ORGANISING TEAM Alessandro Esculapio Giovanni Marmont Lilian Sanchez Merryn Haines-Gadd University of Brighton CHAIRS Caroline Claisse Sheffield Hallam University Dimeji Onafuwa Carnegie Mellon University Li Jönsson The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Moritz Greiner-Petter Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel Nicola Gray Goldsmiths, University of London Sarah Pennington Goldsmiths, University of London Søren Rosenbak Umeå University

PARTICIPANTS Aditya Pawar Umeå University Amro Yaghi University of Sheffield Anna Spencer Glasgow School of Art Anne Corlin Design School Kolding Bob Groeneveld Delft University of Technology Boudewijn Boon Delft University of Technology Bridget Harvey University of the Arts London Cally Gatehouse Northumbria University Camilla Groth Aalto University Caroline Yan Zheng Royal College of Art Caterina Giuliani University of Sheffield Claire van Rhyn Royal College of Art Dave Pao Royal College of Art Fiona MacLellan Glasgow School of Art Heather McKinnon Queensland University of Technology Helena Sustar Aalto University Hyosun Kwon University of Nottingham Ilka Staudinger-Morgan University of Technology Sydney

Janaina Barbosa University of Aveiro Jari-Pekka Kola Aalto University School of Arts Johanna Kleinert TUM Technische Universitaet Muenchen Joseph Lindley Lancaster University Jules Findley Royal College of Art Kaajal Modi Loughborough University Kakee Scott Carnegie Mellon University Kensho Miyoshi Royal College of Art Laura Popplow University of Art and Design Linz Laureline Chiapello Université de Montréal Louise Ravnløkke Design School Kolding Mia Hesselgren KTH Royal Institute of Technology Michael Stead Lancaster University Mila Burcikova University of Huddersfield Miriam Ribul University of the Arts London Mylene Petermann Kingston University Neslihan Tepehan Edinburgh College of Art

Patrizia D’Olivo Delft University of Technology Pauline Gourlet Université Paris 8 and EnsadLab Philippa Mothersill Massachusetts Institute of Technology Preethi Rajaprakasam Loughborough University Rebecca Partridge Sheffield Hallam University Rebecca Taylor Lancaster University Robert Djaelani Northumbria University Ruth Neubauer Loughborough University Stefanie Reich Muthesius Academy of Arts and Design Steve Coleman Cardiff Metropolitan University Tanja Rosenqvist University of Technology Sydney Tanveer Ahmed Open University Tessa Dekkers Delft University of Technology Tobias Mulling University of Brighton Tom Jenkins Georgia Institute of Technology Trine Gøttsche Design School Kolding Vasiliki Tsaknaki KTH Royal Institute of Technology

reflections To accompany the theme of the DRS conference, we came into this week posing the question: “What does the future hold for practice-based PhD’s in design?� and on Monday the PhD By Design community articulated 31 further questions that it would like to pose to the DRS community. These have been circulating and interweaving with session tracks, conversations, debates, online and late at night and are now being collated into an Instant journal And as the week closes, we have come to the position that, for us, the future of practice-based research really rotates around the question: what does it mean to care in design research? Firstly, this allows us to consider conferences as events where people, issues and practices come together and are ultimately changed in their becoming together. How can we show care in planning this? Care in organisational and logistical sense of using a conference as a productive and empowering moment where knowledge is generated between peers. But also in doing justice to your research in how you share it and how as a research community we work through difficult issues. Secondly, care in knowledge politics. This can be thought about and reflected on how we deliver and engage in critique in both (the most appropriate formats to deliver critique) informal conversations and more public platforms. And we feel that there has been great moments where care has been shown. Throughout the week, we have seen that once again, this is something that the design community needs to work on. And finally, how do we care for each other as a community of design researchers? We have all been recipients of the care invested by Peter Lloyd and his team for putting this event on. Through this week we have experienced once more the work and commitment that care takes. Care is an achievement and this time as PhD By Design we are especially proud of what we have achieved as we have created a great collaboration with the PhD By Design local organising team consisting of Giovanni Marmont, Merryn HainesGadd, Lilian Sanchez Moreno and Alessandro Esculapio. In conclusion, we feel there is a need for design researchers to show care for the things they put in the world (whether conferences, papers, objects, or knowledge) and how they affect and demand care from other things. What does it mean to care in design research? Bianca Elzenbaumer, Alison Thomson, Maria Portugal

satellite session Monday 27th June 2016



Building Entrance

Tea, coffee & pastries



Lecture Hall

Peter Lloyd, DRS PBD Organising Team

0900 - 1015

MESSY INTRODUCTIONS 90 seconds per participant

1015 - 1215

1330 - 1500


WORKSHOPS 6 workshop sessions

1500 - 1530

1530- 1700



Lecture Hall

1800 Lecture Hall

Following the main event on Monday 27th June 2016, PhD By Design will not lose momentum, extending its presence throughout the rest of the DRS Conference. From 28th to 30th June 2016, we relocated to the mezzanine of Brighton Dome where the PhD By Design HUB was set up in order to continue our activities and the work on the Instant Journal #3. The HUB was a welcoming social space with an additional daily programme of workshops* and conversations.

Tuesday 28th 1115 - 1245

COMMON GROUND IN HEALTHCARE RESEARCH bridging perspectives between healthcare and design research

Tuesday 28th 1400 – 1530

SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROBLEM a session of problem’s exchange around the theme of healthy working environments


Lecture Hall

1700 - 1730

28th-30th June 2016

DISCUSSION SESSIONS 10 groups of 6 presentations (5 minutes each) led by a chair and a discussant

1215 - 1330



Wednesday 29th DESIGNER STORY MAPPING map the designer’s experience 1600 - 1730 Thursday 30th 1115 - 1245

TODAY’S AND TOMORROW’S design researcher reinventing the intersection



session 1 discussant Jonathan Chapman chair Merryn Haines-Gadd Louise Ravnløkke Sustainable textile design Tangible means Aesthetic experiences Mia Hesselgren Transitions Sustainable lifestyles Everyday practices Michael Stead Sustainable product design Internet of things Design fiction Mila Burcikova Emotional attachment Fashion Craft Miriam Ribul Regenerated cellulose Science collaboration Design interventions

Led by discussant Jonathan Chapman and chaired by Merryn Haines-Gadd our diverse cohort of design PhD practitioners hailed from a variety of countries around the world, bringing with them a fantastic range of skills and expertise. Mila Burcikova, kicked off the presentations explaining how emotional attachment in fashion craft can be explored through repair and versatility. Next we heard from Michael Stead and his Toaster for Life and how it might contribute to a manifesto for sustainable Internet of things. Mia Hesselgren then presented her findings on how to strategically promote more sustainable lifestyle practices by encouraging families to give it a try and go car free concluding that designers must sow the seeds for change. Louise Ravnløkke followed, describing her user-centric process for the design of knitwear to explore aesthetic experiences and spark discussion within emotion centred design. And lastly Miriam Ribul, a designer in residence within material science laboratories, utilises participatory design methods to create material experience experiments with scientists to facilitate the development of more sustainable materials. Within the final the group discussion, the common themes that emerged were firstly about transparency within sustainability, what does it mean? how we do it do we do it? Secondly, within design research, what are the tensions that exists around impact in academia and industry. Which lastly culminated in an exciting sparky debate on the nature of collaboration… has the term lost all meaning? do we over use it? how can we truly collaborate with each other? But as the conversation developed, we concluded with the question of how we as practitioners can be more mindful as we create and do we have the power to influence consumers and policy makers to be more aware of the issues of sustainability within all types of production. Something that we collectively thought was a challenge not only the future of practice based PhD’s but for design research as whole.

Notes by Merryn Haines-Gadd


This session was led by Dr. Joanna Boehnert and chaired by Dimeji Onafuwa. Discussions and presentations led to conversations that yielded specific themes.

session 2 discussant Joanna Boehnert chair Dimeji Onafuwa Anne Corlin Social sustainability Design parameters Interaction Bridget Harvey Repair Making People Heather McKinnon Sustainability Undesign Modern mundanity Kakee Scott Strategic design research Alternative economics Collaborative economic futuring Preethi Rajaprakasam Social innovation Sustainable development Luxury

Notes by Dimeji Onafuwa

Kakee Scott kicked off the presentation by talking about her work with collaborative, experimental forms of speculative design and incubations of alternative practice as a means of engaging diverse participants in thinking more about alternative economies. Next, Ann Corlin shared her research on the relationship between people and places as well as the foundational interaction between people and cities. She looked at the importance of both humanistic and physical design parameters in determining such relationships. Then, Heather McKinnon shared her practice-based work within the context of everyday life and finding/creating value in mundanity by looking at design interventions and artifacts that explore the mundane. Then, Bridget Harvey shared her work with repair cultures relating to textiles in order to contribute to repair narratives for what she called “the postabundance era and the emergent repair movement.” Finally, Preethi Rajaprakasam shared her work around taste regimes and high-end luxury products and industries. Her research intent is to decouple sustainable development from western notions of luxury. General themes that surfaced from the overall discussion were: • General and specific location of design PHD research work. The weight of analysis and evidence in design research. How do designers make clarity from complex situations. • Challenges with bringing transparence and clarity into what seems to be a subjective research culture. How might we develop better ways to derive at subjectivity. • Situatedness and awareness: How might designers be aware of themselves in their work and be able to practice reflectivity as well as reflexivity. This is especially important with understanding of future thinking - Understanding the tension between transparency and clarity and ways this may be creating cultures of anti-intellectualism and lack of criticality in the world we live in. The session closed with three useful questions built around the discussions: 1. In response to the over emphasis on evidence-based research, how might the community at DRS better articulate the value design can provide? 2. How can DRS research better demonstrate the importance of reflexivity, subjectivity and situated knowledge generation within and beyond design research? 3. How can designers approach complexity to make meaning in a transparent way?


session 3 discussant Rebecca Ross chair Søren Rosenbak Aditya Pawar Participation Openness Food Amro Yaghi Inclusive public space Inequality Performance Anna Spencer Storytelling Communities Challenging Dominant Narratives Ilka Staudinger-Morgan Storytelling Communities Challenging Dominant Narratives Janaina Barbosa Commoning processes Aesthetics Empowerment

Notes by Søren Rosenbak

Throughout the session and its five presentations, a number of thematics emerged. Keywords include: commoning, participatory design, exclusion vs. inclusion, bottom up vs. top down, empowerment, and strong notions of space, place, situatedness and locality. The following is an attempt to tease out some of the key points that emerged throughout the session, in particular in the concluding discussion, acknowledging that much will be left out in this brief summary. In discussing the design researcher’s role in the research practice, various propositions were made: The design researcher as a community therapist. The design researcher as a facilitator of public good. The design researcher who challenges the flawed problem-solution logic that is so deeply engrained in our field. The design researcher who doesn’t simply design things to mediate human-human relationships, but rather engages in a much richer heterogeneous landscape of human and non-human actors, consequently employing a much broader palette beyond contained design things or products. As a way of anticipating the future for practice-based PhDs, the discussion found its point of gravity in a provocation put forward: if a designer just does facilitation s/he does nothing. From this, we can perhaps ask, what change looks like to us? How do we recognise it, smell it, feel it, etc.? Is it something we make, or perhaps something we rather channel? And how does these differences alter our role as practice-based researchers? A parallel thread in our session concerned the sensibility towards the particular context(s) of the design researcher (space, place, situatedness, locality), as several of the projects presented within the session explicitly dealt with a rural context. As an example, we discussed the notion (both literally and figuratively) of the hinterland, as a place you’re both situated within and also engages with through your practice-based research. Finally, we also discussed the ethical obligation in design research, particularly in a world that can be considered broken in several different ways. How do we meaningfully navigate these murky waters?


session 4 discussant Alex Wilkie chair Li Jonsson Bob Groeneveld Tailoring Healthcare Method development Dave Pao Electronic Patient Records Conversation Wellbeing Patrizia D’Olivo New Normal Life disruptive events Empowerment Rebecca Partridge Practice Adolescents Health Robert Djaelani Action research Healthcare systems Social justice Tessa Dekkers Tailoring Interdisciplinary research Personalization

Within this session we heard presentations from Robert Djaelani, Tessa Dekkers, Rebecca Partridge, Patrizia D’Olivo, Bob Groeneveld, and Dave Pao. Both Alex Wilkie and Li Jönsson led us through an interesting discussion, with Alison Thomson acting as a chair for the session. The overarching theme of the discussion was around the politics of design when working with patients, medical knowledge, healthcare environments, different stakeholders, electronic patient records etc. which took us in many different fruitful directions. Firstly, to the many assumptions that are inherent in design - primarily that design does “good”. Is the role of design to improve or can it be to show different perspectives, to render things as present or make us aware of something else? One way to explore this further in our research, is to have a level of specificity in how we engage and deploy our designs. Secondly, about the normative features of design methods. We should ask ourselves, “what exactly do methods do?” then going further to think about their performative effects when deployed in the world. This is one of the many problems of doing a PhD in health where we are engaging and working within sensitive settings.Thirdly, the feature of accountability was relevant to all the presentations. When working across difference in health research, who are we accountable to? So much is at stake with this work, therefor it is key to determine what is assumed to be better through design. Finally, around designs relationship to other disciplines. What is designs role, and our role of design researchers when standing in between (and sometimes representing) different disciplines. This is a reflexive point about how to enact the role of a designer and the choices we make in doing this.

Notes by Alison Thomson


session 5 discussant Bill Gaver chair Lilian Sanchez-Moreno Boudewijn Boon Research Through Design Camilla Groth Embodied cognition Design practice Future Laura Popplow Transformation Participatory design Post-growth Rebecca Taylor Sociomateriality Codesign Activism Steve Coleman Research tools Dementia care Service strategies Trine Højbak Møller Gøttsche Intimacy Accessories Wearables

The session conformed by: Boudewijn Boon, Camila Groth, Laura Popplow, Rebecca Taylor, Steve Coleman and Trine Højbak Møller Gøttsche, raised a set of interesting questions regarding concerns that have been encountered during the course of their PhD journey, such as; how to deal with “validation” in a subjective research setting, how to design more inclusive processes towards a post-growth future, and in which ways can we, as fellow design researchers support each other methodologically, through our own practice, among others. Reflecting on these concerns, in relation to the overall conference theme - what the future holds for design research; the collective topics that emerged from the discussion, which was preceded by a response from the sessions discussant, professor Bill Gaver, following up on each participants’ 5 minute presentations, where put together under the following overarching themes: Taking a step further in design research: After 50 years of design research, what’s next, what does design research have to offer in a post-growth, post-design, post-truth context? How can design research move beyond the toolkit, and the constraints that ‘academic’ evaluation criteria may have upon the outputs of research? To take responsibility in re-thinking/re-imaging design research, this is, to actively seek to go beyond the preconceptions of how it should be undertaken. To think of design research as a mode of intervention, as something that leads to construction; design research as knowledge that can be inherently reconstructed. The themes that were raised herein, where echoed post-PhD by Design, and into the DRS conference, where similar reflections could be identified from the vast selection of papers presented. The enthusiasm and participation of all of the group members, was key to ensure an enriching output from the discussion session.

Notes by Lilian Sanchez-Moreno


session 6 discussant Tobie Kerridge chair Giovanni Marmont Cally Gatehouse Critical design Networked publics Communication design Joseph Lindley Design fiction Speculative design Research through design Mylene Petermann Speculative Design Design research Wearable technologies Neslihan Tepehan Non-object Objectile Critical design Vasiliki Tsaknaki Crafting Computational materials Interaction design Ruth Neubauer Social practices Designer Experience

Discussion session n.6 mostly revolved around issues, strategies and opportunities within critical, speculative and participatory approaches to design. All participants, together with group discussant Tobie Kerridge of Goldsmiths University of London, contributed to a lively debate, through both their individual presentations and final comments session. Some of the main themes that emerged throughout the morning seemed to be, either directly or by proximity, in response to what Kerridge rightly described as a ‘hangover from the first wave of Speculative and Critical Design’. Such discussions revealed a concern for the ethical and methodological implications within practices employing the construction of fictional scenarios or challenging our very understanding of person-thing encounters. Additionally, the group presented a general attentiveness to the various roles and degrees of engagement for a truly participative public. This consequently prompted debate around the practice-research divide and how to bring these two aspects of the design activity closer to one another. In the afternoon, the group was asked to summarise what was discussed throughout the morning session, which led to the following three questions: 1. Where does design(ing) finish? 2. How to reconcile criticality in practice and its analytical account, generated through design research? 3. How can knowledge and speculative thinking be translated into material form?

Notes by Giovanni Marmont


session 7 discussant Terry Irwin chair Nicola Gray Caterina Giuliani Participation Radical Pedagogy Commons Claire van Rhyn Sensory Aesthetics Cultural Transmission Mechanisms of Change Fiona MacLellan Rural education Slow digital movement Policy by design Pauline Gourlet Reflective tools Ways of showing Learning by doing Tanveer Ahmed Fashion Race Inequality

This session was dominated by design education as an overarching theme. All participants were working on practice-lead research that was based within learning, yet covered diverse situations and multiple audiences. Caterina Giuliani work encompasses topics at the intersection of radical education, design and participatory processes; within primary school aged children. Claire van Rhyn presented her work on the role of sensory aesthetic transmission in aiding rapid cultural change in education. Fiona MacLellan’s practice looks to realising how school networks and designers can work together to shape innovative learning experiences, in particular at secondary-level within rural communities in Scotland. Pauline Gourmet research focuses on designing tools and activities for primary-aged children, which in turn are in turn analysed for reflective learning. Tavern Ahmed research is an in-depth analysis of how different cultures and represented through fashion design, in particular within higher education. The discussion then turned to developing themes in which we felt not only represented this session, but also the wider issues of conducting a practice-based PhD in design. The loosely developed around three key areas: the emergence of new practices in undertaking research in practice-based PhD, especially in the area of education; how new techniques could aid research methods in particularly around assessment within education environments; and finally how do PhD’s that focus on ares such as education have the power and influence to change systems, when they are so complex. These themes were further discussed, distilled and debated, with the emergence of the final questions, which are: 1. What is the future of design PhD’s? 2. How would post-qualitative research methods support, disrupt or transform knowledge? 3. Could PhD design research that addresses complex systems become less individual endeavour and embrace collective research practices?

Notes by Nicola Gray


session 8 discussant Guy Julier chair Sarah Pennington Helena Sustar Governmental public systems & services Human centred design Empathy Johanna Kleinert Biofacts Food Materiality Ralitsa Diana Debrah Healthcare Service design Sustainability Stefanie Reich Healthcare Society Democratization Tanja Rosenqvist Governance Power dynamics Public service design

Tanja Rosenqvist, Johanna Kleinert, Stefanie Reich and Helena Sustar presented in session 8, with discussant Guy Julier. Research projects spanned the design of engagement between local government in Indonesia and community-led sanitation systems; investigations into the mass production of fruit and vegetables; the challenges and opportunities in the democratisation of medical services; and the application of empathic approaches to the design of governmental services for immigration in Finland. Our discussion highlighted a rich range of further references – including governance theory, infra-structuring, agnostic democracy, boundary objects, inventive methods and the work of Nelly Ben Hayoun. The conference’s central question: ‘What does the future hold for practice based PhD’s?’ extended from the questions that researchers were currently grappling with. As some session participants were working from positions within multi- or trans-disciplinary research teams, there was concern about how to assert their role as designers; or to negotiate a hybrid, ‘mangled’ practices; or to decide which discourse to contribute to. Building on an aspect of this thread, there was a comment that we don’t need to worry about a unification of design practices. Another pertinent discussion thread centered around the practicalities of refining from a large research territory to a specific issue; and similarly, how to identify and refine our research questions within the PhD process? Rather than having the research questions ‘sorted’ at the beginning of the PhD process, can we promote the conditions for research questions to unfold? Finally, as could be particularly seen in the projects describing design-led mediation between government and publics, we wondered whether a ‘design dialect’ needed to be developed, as a means of communicating the value of design research in new contexts and to ‘foreign’ disciplines.

Notes by Sarah Pennington


session 9 discussant Cameron Tonkinwise chair Moritz Greiner-Petter Jari-Pekka Kola Focality Design Lutherie Jules Findley Paper Mourning Grief Kaajal Modi Transdisciplinarity Transculturalism Transformation Laureline Chiapello Game design Creativity Collaborative research Tom Jenkins Prototyping Domesitic Iot

In response to the wide variety of topics presented by the PhD researchers the discussion turned to a series of overarching and shared methodological aspects. A lot of design researchers work across foreign disciplinary conventions and in unfamiliar modes of practice. This leads to questions regarding both the confidence to act in other disciplinary fields as well as the confidence in your own disciplinary backgrounds. This kind of „domain blending“ – the shifting and folding of contexts, theories and practices from different sites and situations – could be seen and should be cultivated as productive moments of knowledge creation. In general, practice-based design researcher deal with still emergent and resistant epistemological practices. A culture of referencing existing projects for their specific uses of practice-based approaches and methodologies is often surprisingly underdeveloped. It would be valuable to strengthen the exposition of predecessors in the field – not necessarily to construct a rigid canon, but to foster the community and mutually gaining credibility and legitimacy. Linked to this aspect of referencing other people’s research practices are questions of articulation of practice itself. What are strategies and tools for articulating your practice? How to thoroughly describe experiences instead of hiding them behind cloudy notions of the tacit? In what ways is your research practice different from your design practice? How to be aware of your own practice and when to switch to modes of reflection (and of what kind is that switch anyway)? And finally, how can we foster experimentation with multi-modal ways of articulation and how to strengthen their legitimacy as part of research publications and PhDs?

Notes by Moritz Greiner-Petter


session 10 discussant Ramia Mazé chair Caroline Claisse Caroline Yan Zheng Embodied interaction Tangible embodiment Emotion Hyosun Kwon Interaction design Ephemerality HCI Kensho Miyoshi Motion Interaction Transition Philippa Mothersill Computational design Design research Creativity support tools Tobias Mulling Mid-air interfaces Gestural interaction Navigation

Notes by Caroline Claisse

Our students group had common research interests around the fields of technology and interaction design. For example, the different research project presented during the session highlighted emotional, tangible and ephemeral aspects of technology by designing new interfaces or experiences where the relationship between humans and non-human systems is challenged. In our discussion, the role of subjectivity came across as a strong asset of research through design. In our discussion, subjectivity was considered from two perspectives: first, its role in the methods used to conduct research (how do we do our research) and secondly, as a research subject in itself. We emphasised the need for acknowledging subjectivity in our research process and observed how it can help designers to deal with complex and emotional aspects of qualitative research. For DRS, we first asked ‘How can we reframe the metrics of validation to more greatly value uncertainty and subjectivity in our design research?’ (#PBDQ8) Then, we talked about sufficiency and in relation to our design intervention, we wondered how do we know when enough is enough? We considered the iterative relationship between contribution and knowledge and asked to what extent is knowledge scalable? We also acknowledged the fact that contributions will be different depending on the context of the research (e.g. universities have different criteria for knowledge contribution and PhD different length). Some of the students talked about the difficulty of translating their design process and intervention into academic format. We reflected how frustrating sometimes it can be for design researchers to curate their process and select experiments/ interventions to present for the PhD thesis. For DRS, we asked ‘when is a design intervention relevant enough to be considered as a contribution for the PhD thesis?’ (#PBDQ9). We also talked about interdisciplinary aspect of our research and compared our role of designer to ‘building bridges’. We talked about ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ and, wondered how thick or wide (deep or broad) our ‘bridges’ to other disciplines should look like? When working across disciplines, we emphasised the importance for us to position ourselves and asked how much design needs from other disciplines but also, what can design bring to the table? For DRS, we asked ‘As a designer working in cross disciplinary fields, how do I draw from new areas of expertise without deviating significantly from the design core of my practice?’ (#PBDQ10).



POST-DOC SURVIVAL Bianca Elzenbaumer Leeds College of Art Joanna Boehnert University of Westminster With the academic and industry-based research environment firmly embedded in neoliberal politics, precarious working environments area a problem even for those who manage to complete a doctorate. In many countries, early career academics face harsh prospects with low wage, insecure sessional teaching work and precarious fractional contracts. Post-docs are vulnerable in times of extreme cost cutting measures by universities. We can work hard and hope to get that elusive permanent position that pays a living wage – but many of us feel like we can’t afford to risk the precarious work that we might have by campaigning for better conditions. In this workshop we discuss working conditions for designers and design researchers. We will start with a panel that will discuss post-doc working conditions. This panel will catalyse a collective conversation on survival as an early career design researchers. What comes after the PhD? How does this differ across countries and shape this reality collectively? Opening up discussions about what kind of environment this creates is timely, especially as ever more designers opt for research-led trajectories. What do we want and need to do our jobs well and have economically sustainable and emotionally satisfying lives? What kind of practices, skills and collective actions can help us in creating this environment?

Self-help Guide: The Post-doc Researcher • Survive on your own, use a map or build a raft together with others! • Get together with peers and supervisors to map the post-doc landscape and the possibilities that your PhD can open up for you. • Make sure you can explain what design has to offer. Potential employers or collaborators might not understand how design can help. • Play the impact card when collaborating with people from other disciplines. • Use your time as a PhD student to build a network. • Apply for funding even if the funders are not narrowly focused on design. Learn to describe how design can contribute to a wide range problem solving tasks and research agendas across disciplines and sectors. • Align your practice with what is called for, e.g. speculative design can align itself with public engagement. This can help you secure funding for your work. • Make your salaries known and don’t leave room for hidden negotiations. • Lobby your design school to invest in their graduates. Institutional Guide: The Design School • Institutions should offer seed funding for developing research projects. • PhD consortia should contain post-doc possibilities. • Survey other fields for supportive structures. What practices could be leveraged? • In the UK, engage HEFCE and RCUK (or equivalents) to create post-doc possibilities. • Make sure all staff are aware that it is unethical to ask someone with a PhD to work for free. Compulsory payment for post-docs to be paid for any work they do. • Create a budget to pay visiting post-docs for any work they are asked to do. Network Guide: The Design Research Society • The DRS should invite design research institutions to adopt a Concordat to support the career development of early career design researchers. • The DRS can create a category of membership for reduced price for post-docs. Post-docs on very low salaries or hourly wages and insecure contracts should not pay the same DRS membership price as professors. • Post-docs members can complete a survey each year reviewing institutional practice. Design schools will be rated by the degree of support they offer PhDs and postdocs. This will take a form similar to the People and Planet League Awards (UK). • Reward good practice by giving HR and other awards each year to the design schools that with the best employment practices and career paths in compliance with Concordat. (This will be based on the survey completed by post-docs). • The DRS can create a specific post-doc best practice statement and group. • The DRS should publish a statement requesting members to pledge to stop asking unsalaried or part-time postdocs to do free talks, lectures, etc. All teaching staff must be paid. If there is no budget, professors should use their own salaries to pay postdocs. Or whatever. Stop this now! • The DRS should develop a strategy to encourage institutions that are setting up new Masters-level courses in design to hire PhDs in design. Design research degrees should be developed by design researchers with PhDs, not people from other disciplines who suddenly like design. These proposals are outcomes of the Post-doc Survival Workshop run by Bianca Elzenbaumer and Joanna Boehnert at the PhD by Design event on 27 June 2016 with contributions by Dan Lockton and Cameron Tonkinwise (along with the workshop participants). Many thanks to everyone who contributed.


PROTOTYPING DESIGN RESEARCH TOOLS Søren Rosenbak Aditya Pawar Umeü Institute of Design In this workshop, we propose that design research needs to actively think about designing research tools and procedures as part of the research process. Following from this a number of questions arise: How can we get a critical understanding of how research tools shape our research practices? How can we practice collaborative sharing, critiquing and making of tools? For example, in a setup using materials and manual making at the PhD by Design session. When engaging in experimental practice-based research, what capabilities do design researchers need to prototype and articulate their tool-making practices?

The tools we employ in our research practices shape our work in profound and intricate ways. As practice-based doctoral students in design, we constantly traverse practice and theory, using a vast array of tools in our journeys: pencils, workshop formats, surveys, 3D rendering software, interview techniques, hammers, literature reviews etc. Sometimes we can’t find what we’re looking for to tackle a given situation, and we have to quickly design a new ad hoc tool for ourselves. Sometimes the opposite is true, as a new toy grabs our attention, and we immediately start imagining how this brilliant new thing could leverage our research. Our Prototyping Design Research Tools workshop invited participants to proactively unravel this relationship between tool and practice-based researcher by prototyping new design research tools and assisting manuals. We see this exercise as part of a larger effort to prototype design practices, responding to the many contemporary changes and challenges that design faces. Inventive tool-making, in this respect, and especially in the context of PhD by Design, seem to offer a curious hinge between a well-established “language” of physical prototyping and the possibility to critically reflect on our various research trajectories, as well as the future of practice-based PhDs in design. The workshop consisted of an introduction and two main blocks where participants teamed up in pairs to 1) prototype one or several research tools, 2) make an assisting manual that allows other researchers to make sense of the tool. At this point the groups would pair up and present their tool+manual to one another. Finally, all participants would join for a concluding reflection session at the very end. We intended for the outcome of the workshop (the tools+manuals) to kickstart a PhD by Design research tool inventory, a space not unlike a garden shed or tool-wall, that offers itself as a resource to practice-based research. Inventory of tools created during the workshop: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Participant Physical Engagement tracking by Caroline Yan Zheng and Neslihan Tepehan. A tool to measure active and inactive engagement when participants first encounter the design object. Interaction Diagram by Janaina Barbosa and Rebecca Partridge. A tool for visualising the level of ‘voice’ of stakeholders in urban design projects. 3 Dimensional Interaction Matrix (Bunkbed of Interaction) by Claire van Rhyn and Anne Corlin. A tool for physically manifesting/ mapping interactions across physical, emotional and social space. Visualisation of Medical Information Flows by Stephanie Reich and Bob Groeneveld.A tool for visualising the information flows of medical data between healthcare providers, patients and their families and other stakeholders. Mesh by Miriam Ribul. A tool for testing and making material based tool explorations, where a change in material results in a different tool behaviour. Kaleido-Scope (or prism sense for super joyous clear thinking) by Merryn Haines-Gadd.A tool to aiding design researchers in understanding key concepts in their research in relation to one another. Bits and atoms tool by Michael Stead and Mylene Petermann. A tool investigating interactions in physical objects, consisting of modular components allowing the researcher to build bespoke tools.


Tool-making reflection The collective tool making exercise was valuable for the participants in many ways: • as a common ground and a way of gaining empathy for other researchers and the challenges they face. How we use similar tools, although defined differently and yet employ them for the same ends. It was suggested that rather than a research tool, the tool offered a way of understanding each other’s work. • as a way of materialising and problematising intangible concepts and theories. • as a low threshold medium for engaging in discussion due to the low fidelity prototyping. • as something distinct from visualisations or other formats, highly physical and imbued with a special feeling from mapping together. • as relevant outside of the immediate scope of current research work, it could be adapted as a way of visualising a process in 3D and/or do emotional mapping within work in different areas. • as a way of opening up the project/process into a collaborative mode that offer value for certain projects, like the health information flow tool, where this kind of openness and communication could counter the complexity and anxiety people feel over health and data. • as a way to reflect on the relation between theory and practice. Inventory reflection The proposed tool inventory was positively received and deemed relevant for practice-based PhDs: • as a resource where you can get inspiration, as well as adapt or adopt certain tools (as opposed to having to come up with something out of the blue). • as an example of how easy it can be to go beyond a white sheet and markers. Lowering the threshold for how to engage in more complex representations or nuanced things in your own work. • as a way of cross-referencing the PhD by Design search tool. • as way to share inventive practices of tool making through creation of design manuals. These insights are joint reflections from the workshop Prototyping Design Research Tools run by Søren Rosenbak and Aditya Pawar on Monday 27 June 2016. The future scope of this workshop series is to create a common tool inventory and community to discuss the challenges of inventive tool making in practice-based design research. We thank our colleagues for their valuable contributions.


STEP INTO MY SHOES: What constitutes good supervision? Helena Sustar Aalto University In the first part the participants with the same background (PhD candidates /supervisors) are working in groups of maximum of 4 people answering the question “What constitutes a good supervision?” however from the position of different roles supervisors in the role of PhD candidates and the other way around. Participants are examining question from the perspective of time, different stages of the PhD study etc. for 30 min while drawing ecology map. Prompt questions and cards are used during this process. In second part participants change their positions, now groups consists of two supervisors and two PhD students, which they are examining service ecology map from previous group with adding their own thoughts. The result of this 30 min session is list of key points describing “What constitutes a good supervision?”. After 5 min break each group present their work to all participants at the workshop. Discussion in the each group can be recorded for the future analysis. At the workshop can attend no more than 20 participants. This workshop requires the space big enough for 5 tables, 20 chairs and a projector.

“Step Into my Shoes” workshop, which was hold at the PhD by Design satellite session on Monday 27th of June in Brighton focused in identifying what consist successful PhD supervision meeting(s). The workshop had three main objectives: identifying what make successful supervision meeting(s) and what are the challenges that prevent that, and propose solutions for better supervision meetings in the future. The workshop, at which three PhD students and one supervisor participated, started with presenting some of the results form the on-line survey published at the PhD Design JICCMAIL list investigating current quality of the supervision meetings. 24 PhD candidates in different stages of their study from 13 courtiers answered the survey consisted from 15 questions including: general information, relationship PhD candidate/supervisor, supervision meetings and ‘Sky has no limit’ ideas. The results reveal that PhD candidates are skilled and self-confident about their studies (7 out of 10). In terms of number of supervision meetings that candidates who responded to survey have indicated two extremes: on one hand candidates had their supervision meetings twice per year, and on other hand the same amount of participants indicated regular weekly meetings (7 responses). Candidates felt that they have positive, friendly, respectful and professional relationship with their supervisor. PhD candidates were positive about networking and mobility, freedom regarding their PhD topic, extensive reading, presenting and perfectionism in writing bout their work etc. However, they were less positive about irregular meetings and longer absence of supervision, lack of interest in candidate’s PhD theme, which leaded in some cases in replacement of the supervisor. The workshop, which adopted empathic approach through exchanging experiences between PhD candidates and a supervisor by creating personas and acknowledging challenges on both sides, reviled five challenges and provided the following solutions: 1. Communication, which can be improved by providing different means of communication between supervisor and PhD candidate, for example, by adopting on-line PhD management tools; different ways of documenting supervision meetings (e.g. drawing, photo taking); forming the PhD thesis well at the beginning, which can be more sustainable for the future; writing a paper with your supervisor that can create mutual working relationship. 2. The space of supervision meetings that can be held in informal environment appropriate to cultural and personal preferences, where the communication is well supported and enable informal discussions (e.g. common kitchen, park). 3. Understanding the actions that PhD candidate is expected to perform, where is also space for creative mistakes. 4. Getting the feedback on PhD studies not only from supervisor, but also from the research group, other PhD peers and broader community. Here were mentioned existing good practices, for example PhD by Design and Practice Research Symposiums hold by RMIT University (, where candidates are presenting their PhD study publically in order to get as broad as possible feedback. Symposiums are held in Australia, Asia and Europe six times per year. 5. Time management skills, which are crucial for PhD candidate as well as supervisor and supervisor’s management of supporting unknown – candidate is doing his/her PhD for the first time – by organising, collecting, structuring and managing. 6. Have fun!


TACIT KNOWLEDGE Dorotea Ottaviani Glasgow School of Art Alice Buoli Estonian Academy of Art Cecilia De Marinis RMIT Barcelona The premise of creative practice research is to make explicit knowled which is perse tacit in creative practice. This tacit knowledge is a flexible and dynamic realm of knowledge which is hard to grasp, as it is something hidden, invisible to the eye of the practitioner but exists within their practice. It is something that exists at the level of the subconscious, an unspoken, silent and subjective form of knowledge, embedded in practice. Tacit knowledge could be described as an intuitive and heuristic thinking related to the operational and experiential aspects of the practice. It could be also defined as the mental space of perception and memory, built through our spatial intelligence. The PhD by design is a process of awareness concerning the tacit knowledge embedded in the practice. Therefore, the PhD could be seen as a journey of discovery through the implicit dimensions of the creative practice.

Exploring Tacit Knowledge The premise of creative practice research is to make explicit knowledge which is per se tacit in creative practice. This Tacit Knowledge is a flexible and dynamic realm of knowledge which is hard to grasp, as it is something hidden, invisible to the eye of the practitioner but exists within their practice and research. It is something that exists at the level of the subconscious, an unspoken, silent and subjective form of knowledge, embedded in practice. Tacit knowledge could be described as an intuitive and heuristic thinking related to the operational and experiential aspects of the practice. It could be also defined as the mental space of perception and memory, built through our spatial intelligence. The workshop will be the occasion for triggering new reflections about tacit knowledge in creative practice. Research and experiences through the PhD process would be the starting point of debate and reflection about the knowledge embedded in practice. The Tacit Knowledge is both the starting point and the prompt of the Phd Journey and, at the same time, its explication may the possible outcome and contribution to the knowledge. The expected outcome of the workshop were to have an idea of the personal and collective tacit knowledge. Therefore we asked the participant to find words/concepts/ideas that would respond to the following general questions about the Tacit Knowledge writing them on post its. The questions were: What is Tacit Knowledge? What are the meanings of Tacit Knowledge in Creative Practice Research? Where does Tacit Knowledge reside? How does Tacit Knowledge work? Where does Tacit Knowledge come from? How does Tacit Knowledge emerge? (epiphanies/slow and unfolding process) How one can transfer and make Tacit Knowledge explicit? How do practitioners deploy their Tacit Knowledge? How does the discovery of Tacit Knowledge affect and change the practice? Then we asked them to post the words on the poster arranging them accordingly to each other categorisation and identification of the possible meanings of Tacit Knowledge. Some interesting insights came out from the dialogue among the participants which include reflections on the possible implications of intuition, serendipity and inspiration in the discovery and in the nature of Tacit Knowledge. On the other side another question aroused about how far should a practitioner go in the discovery of the Tacit Knowledge, how could this influence and change its spontaneity and naivety.


PICTURES OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN: creatively documenting practice based research Cally Gatehouse Northumbria University This workshop will creatively explore how the documentation of the design research process is used in the construction of knowledge. This workshop seeks to explore whether autoethnographic methods can be applied or adapted to practice based research. Autoethnography is a research method that ‘uses a researcher’s personal experiences to describe and critique cultural beliefs, practices, and experiences’. Autoethnography is also a creative practice with researchers considering the process of writing central to the process of inquiry. By applying this idea to practiced based research, can we expand how we understand and share our research outcomes? In this workshop we will interrogate how design researchers ‘perform’ documentation and creatively explore how documentation can inform inquiry. Participants are asked to bring an example of documentation from their research process as a starting point for discussion about how we use texts, photographs, drawings, audio recordings and video to document research. From there we will creatively explore the ways in which we could use documentation as an integral and active part of the design research process.

The starting point for this workshop was to share and discuss the ways in which we as design researchers ‘perform’ documentation and explore how documentation can inform inquiry. The title of the workshop is derived from a common response on internet forums to unlikely claims or seemingly tall tales. The cry of ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’ also reflect the performativity of many online social practices summed up by Rob Horning’s observation: “The point of being on social media is to produce and amass evidence of being on social media.” (2013). This could also be said of how it feels to do a PhD through design: at times the point of doing design research is seems to solely be to generate the documentation that proves that we have done design research. In a recent paper by Bardzell et al (2016) they identify that in research through design “documentation is not merely serving in an instrumental capacity to report on facts and findings; it is also generative in that it ‘talks back’ to us as designers and researchers”. By acknowledging this performativity, it does not mean that the documentation is ‘fake’ or ‘inauthentic’ but instead can lead us to greater self-awareness and reflexivity to the way we use documentation both within to the research process and in how it communicates research outcomes. This framing turns our attention from the tools and mediums we use towards ‘acts of documentation’ which shape the research process and the resulting claims to knowledge that can be made. Within the the workshop a wide range of design practices and research interests were represented and this was reflected in the diversity of tools and approaches to document the research being used. Most widely used were the traditional tools of designers and researchers such as notebooks, sketchbooks and diaries, as well as digital photography, video and audio recordings (and the accompanying metadata). The motivations for collecting documentation were also varied: from communicating outcomes, to reflecting on process, to as a sources of creative inspiration. Approaches often reflected the nature of the design practices used by the researchers whether that be collecting possible materials, sharing code on github, or asking workshop participants to generate documentation. We began to reflect on how these motivations could inform our choice is documentation strategies: how does the way we store and organise documentation inform our understanding of what took place? What claims to knowledge does a photo taken with an SLR taken with studio lights compared to a snap taken on a smartphone at the workbench? How were we using documentation to position the contribution of practice to the research outcomes? How are were we using it to demonstrate originality? We also began to identify some of the challenges and dilemmas involved in documenting design research: The need to be systematic in our research balanced with the need to be flexible and creative. The challenge of process of documentation removing us from the moment, as well finding the time and space to sort through and reflect on the material generated. The ethical dimension of representing our processes, outcomes and collaborators fairly and with integrity is also a key concern. Some possible solutions were also suggested: asking an outside person or team to work on the documentation can take the pressure off and could bring fresh perspective and new insights though some were concerned about unpredictability and potential for unknown bias that this could introduced. It was also widely recognised that being pragmatic in how we employed our time and resources was essential to avoid over burdening ourselves as PhD students. However what remains the biggest challenge is finding ways to capture the intangible or invisible parts of the design practice, be they classical studio based or socially oriented participatory processes, in order that we can fully demonstrate the richness our work to the rest of the world. However, by reframing documentation as a core part of the design research process and shifting the problem from finding the right tools towards finding right acts of documentation informed by our skills as designer, we are well placed to begin to feel more confident in our abilities to navigate our way through these dilemmas and the research process as a whole. References

Bardzell, J., Bardzell, S., Dalsgaard, P., Gross, S., Halskov, K., 2016. Documenting the Research Through Design Process, in: Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, DIS ’16. ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 96–107. doi:10.1145/2901790.2901859 Horning, R., 2013. Affective privacy and surveillance [WWW Document]. The New Inquiry. URL (accessed 7.25.16). Further reading Ede, S., 2003. Science, Not Art: Ten Scientists’ Diaries. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London. Marshall, J., 1999. Living Life as Inquiry. Systemic Practice and Action Research 12, 155–171. doi:10.1023/A:1022421929640 Styhre, A., n.d. Messy texts and conceptual activism in organization theory. Staff, K.M.B., n.d. How To Science As Told By 17 Overly Honest Scientists [WWW Document]. BuzzFeed. URL (accessed 7.25.16)


SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROBLEM a session of problem’s exchange around the theme of healthy working environments Fiona MacLellan Anna Louise Spencer Alicia Smedberg “One day, struggling on the sofa office, I decided to share my thoughts with my peer Ed, he gave me a phone number, thinking that this could have helped me in some reasoning. The problem was solved in half hour call with Ed’s mum.” Giulia Fiorista, PhD student and organiser. This workshop will explore how to deal with obstacles that get in the way of productive working environments (used very broadly to incorporate our homes, libraries, studios, and the people we engage with in these spaces). The focus, however, will be on passing these problems onto other people, rather than solving them yourself. This will build upon a series of creative experiments undertaken by a group of PhDs to test how we respond to obstacles and problems we have encountered over the past six months.

(PBDQ26 – Could PhD design research that addresses complex systems become a less individual endeavour and embrace collective research practices?) Someone Else’s Problem was a playful experiment on the theme of collective working and shared research practice. The Creative Campus Cohort invited others to join them exploring how the process of sharing, reflecting and creatively responding to other people’s problems can provide fresh perspective and insight on the challenges researchers carry. Not concerned with solving the problems, this workshop preferred to host a material conversation which better enabled researchers to carry the contentious parts of their practice with greater clarity, sensitivity and lightness of purpose. It valued the importance of mess in the research process. The workshop affirmed cathartic value of articulating the problematic facets of our practice, the delight of investing in the circumstances of another and lightness with which the heavy part of research can be embraced. The initial workshop group was small, but this allowed for a real depth and honesty to the experience shared. The problems shared by participants ranged from the practical to the personal and from the conceptual to the creative. The format provided a concept and resources but refrained from prescription in its approach. This enabled a diversity of interaction with the theme and an innovative array of responses. Including a time-saving clock, a decision making tool, research rosary beads and deconstructed published document the tangible responses showed care and consideration for the circumstances of others while also offering a new vantage point on the issues at hand. We extended the dialogue beyond the workshop, keen to not limit the conversation to an isolated event. We encouraged conference-goers who didn’t attend the workshop to connect with us in hindsight and either email their problems to us or to fill out one of our cards in the hub. We then took those problems away and responded to them. Everybody who has contributed to and supported the experiment has become part of an email list, and we hope that together we can decide on what’s going to happen next. This workshop showed that collective working requires intention and is not yet the common place process of researchers. Perhaps a collective approach to the challenges we face could creatively cultivate a habit of playful problem sharing rather than a preoccupation with individual burdens. The willingness to express vulnerability in the workshop context was humbling. The generosity of response was inspiring. And the process of curating the workshop space highlighted how the environment, atmosphere and values which underpinned the workshop were the critical defining features. As the practicalities flowed from a clear and shared approach the rest flowed relationally out of the cohort culture and collective space for exploration. Some Else’s Problem will have its next expression as part of the Harmonics Dailies in July 2016 providing an opportunity to share the workshop and the PhD by Design community into new design research networks.


COMMON GROUND IN HEALTHCARE RESEARCH bridging perspectives between healthcare and design research Tessa Dekkers Patrizia D’Olivo Boudewijn Boon Bob Groeneveld Product and service design play an important role in improving healthcare. It can lead to innovative hospital environments and medical devices, as well as new approaches to care and treatment. Successful implementation of new products and services requires understanding of the healthcare system and its end users, creating a demand for design research to explore this context. This context is currently the domain of clinical research which makes a collaboration between both disciplines necessary. However, it can be difficult to share and align perspectives on methodology, expectations, and modalities of intervention. During the workshop we tried to bridge both perspectives by developing a ‘first aid toolkit’. Six participants shared their experiences and generated strategies for good design research practice in the healthcare context. The workshop has given insight into the PhD students’ perspectives. Moreover, it is now being turned into a framework to share and contribute for anyone doing design research in healthcare on firstaidtoolkit. What are good practices for design research in healthcare?


During the workshop, participants identified ‘relationship diplomacy’ and ‘care & reflexivity’ as good practices for design research in healthcare settings. After further analysis of the participants’ contributions we identified four additional strategies: ‘playfulness’, ‘informality’, ‘clarifying the purpose of design’ and ‘self-protection’. Three events described informal meetings between the designer and part of the clinical staff. “An informal meeting in the pub lead to a significant case study in the NHS” – Participant 3 Participants grouped these events together under the theme ‘relationship diplomacy’. This theme describes the importance of managing relationships while working on a design project in healthcare setting. Reflection on this strategy raised the question of how to build relationships and create diplomacy between the clinical team and the designer. The final solution proposed by the participants working on this theme introduces the concept ‘permission to play’. The participants suggest that play with physical materials may facilitate designers to communicate their work with the clinical team at a later point. The notion of ‘playfulness’ appears to be a useful strategy for designers working in healthcare. ‘Informality’ may also represent a viable strategy which allows the designer to find common ground without judgement. Informality may be a way to accomplish trust and diplomacy because it allows professionals – both healthcare providers and designers – to relate to each other at a personal level. We would recommend designers to make use of informality to clarify and give examples of what design means and can do before starting a project to involve all stakeholders. Or as concretely expressed by one of the participants: “Have more cake events” – Participant 1 where stakeholders and the designer share a cake while discussing potential research. Creating common ground also requires the designer to both ‘clarify and convey the purpose of design’. From the discussions we inferred that clarifying the purpose of design would be good practice when working in healthcare. We suggest for themselves as well as for others working with them, designers should explicitly formulate the aim of the research actions undertaken. The three other events concerned topics such as confrontations with violence to patients, strong personal assumptions and unexpected perspectives. According to the participants, these confrontations can be mitigated by being reflexive, i.e. adaptive. This strategy was described as ‘care & reflexivity’. “…there is a need for reflective tools to reframe the problem addressed and the means to address it.” – Participant 5


This strategy raised several ‘how-to’ questions, including how to (dis)engage in a care relationship and how to use anthropology and sociology work for reflexivity. This strategy seems mainly needed in the implementation phase of the research. The participants suggested the use of an online and analog platform for all stakeholders throughout the project in order to constitute a community. The participants feel that this would develop capacity for reflection upon critical incidents. We argue that ‘self-protection’ is also a key skill and strategy designers need to adopt. A designer’s empathic attachment to users can be troublesome when unjust actions carried out against vulnerable patients are experienced or when patients pass away during the design project. This was mentioned by the participants as well: “When do you stop caring?” – Participant 1 The participants’ work on the strategy ‘care and reflexivity’ seemed to lead to the topic of self-protection via the concept ‘tools for training’. They suggest a check-in ‘Buddy’ as part of a system that helps to protect both researchers and participants and prepare them before the actual field work. For example: the ‘Buddy’ could shows the designer how to develop a good disengagement strategy when he gets too involved with care. It is important for designers working in a health care to realize that they are not trained for this context, in contrast to the clinical staff they are working with. The unfamiliarity, high stakes and stress related to (health) care may be unique to this context and poses its own threats to good practice design research. Thus, we believe that self-protection is a strategy that calls for further exploration.


TODAY’S AND TOMORROW’S design researcher reinventing the intersection Andrea Augsten Daniela Peukert Vera-Karina Gebhardt Jana Thierfelder The workshop will be based on an initial study kicked off by design:transfer, an initiative which focuses on issues of design research in transformation processes in science, business, politics and society, about different roles and competences of design researchers, focussing on the personal role the participants currently fulfil. The interim report of the survey was presented at the Swiss Design Research Conference in January 2016 and provided insights into the implicit links between competences, methods and team formation. It resulted in ambitious, yet critical discussions – and showed, that there is an urgent need to keep this discussion running. Therefore we are proposing a workshop session during the PhDbyDesign 2016, which will be both, an active reflection about competencies of design researchers and an interactive production of new ideas and knowledge about their linking role in teams.

Basis for this workshop was an initial study on the personal roles and competences of design researchers within inter- and transdisciplinary teams of organisations. The survey delivered first insights, but we wanted to dive deeper into the topic and further elaborate it with other design researchers. The workshop gave us the possibility to work together very intensively. The aim to use the method of prototyping was to put the participants into a playful situation in which they reflect upon their own organisations, teams and roles while interacting and building with the material we provided. Based on the prototyping reflection we were discussing the question: How might we strengthen the connecting and synthesizing role of design researchers within transdisciplinary teams? The workshop has been split in three parts: warm-up, prototyping and intense discussion to reflect upon the taken process. First we did a short personal introduction by picking a piece of material blindly out of a bag and associating one´s personal connection to her organisation through this piece. The most intense and designerly phase has been the following prototyping, which was separated in three complementary parts: their personal role, their team and their organisation. The participants where ask to prototype their ideas, thoughts and connections concerning the three elements by using the material available on the table. The facilitators helped guiding them through the process and stimulated the prototyping process through trigger questions like: How is the relation of the size of the different parts? How could you implement value or quality to the material? What is your first impression when you think of your organisation? What kind of departments do you have? What kind of different roles/positions do you have in your team? What kind of tools and methods do they use? What is your position within your team? Which special competences are required? Which competencies strengthen the mediating role of design researchers? Which aspects support the competencies of design researchers within transdisciplinary teams? Where in the organization is the innovation team embedded? Which challenges are faced? Following the prototyping phase, there was a written reflection on a questionnaire and a short presentation by each participant explaining her model to the group. These very brief presentations already demonstrated deep insights on relations, intersections and complex dependencies spoken out intuitively by using metaphors and the interaction with the material and the models. Even nonbinding descriptions of performance were taken into account. During the closing discussion the participants emphasized two facts: First they pointed out how enjoyable the silent tinkering by themselves has been during the highly interactive thinking and listening, but bodily passive formats of the conference. Furthermore they said, that the reflection of their roles and contexts seems to be slightly under-estimated in academics and professional contexts. They do see the major outcome of the workshop and the prototyping exercise as a starting point for any future career and work-related decisions they may have to take. “It was a very playful, but also a very intense exercise, which brought thoughts to my mind, I didn´t think of before. I would be really interested in the outcomes.” (Quote by a participant) The study about roles and competences is an on-going research project – outcomes of the workshop will be added to and compared with the existing findings and finally made accessible. Our reflection on the workshop: For us the workshop was really helpful to gain more insights into the topic, further discuss it with the participants and prove our methods. The room provided lots of light and space and the hosts were very friendly and helping. Sometimes the openness of the space caused a little too much noise. Due to the reason that we were working with so much material, it was a little hard for us to plan, because we didn´t know how many people would show up. Maybe it would help, that people sign in for the workshops beforehand. Thank you for the good organisation and the inspiring atmosphere!



#PBDQ1 How can we communicate the value of design research in different disciplinary contexts? #PBDQ2 Instead of defining research questions and solutions in advance, how do we create the conditions for evolving or unfolding research questions?

#PBDQ11 How do we articulate research outputs beyond academic publishing? #PBDQ12 What are possible strategies and tactics to navigate the swampiness of post-doc life? What role can the DRS play in this?

#PBDQ23 How can designers approach complex issues while articulating meaning in a transparent way?

#PBDQ3 There is a tension between everyday application of design research and topdown knowledge production, especially in politically settings. How do designers negotiate their position in such a context?

#PBDQ13 Where does the act of design(ing) end?

#PBDQ24 What is the future of practice-led design research?

#PBDQ4 How could we disrupt conventional forms of academic publication in order for them to become more public or accessible?

#PBDQ15 How can knowledge and speculative thinking be translated into/through material form?

#PBDQ5 What kinds of murky ethical questions arise from practice-led research in public spaces?

#PBDQ16 What are the politics behind common assumptions in design practice for healthcare?

#PBDQ6 Why are toolboxes so common in design research? What are their advantages and limits?

#PBDQ17 How is accountability distributed in design for health services?

#PBDQ7 Which communities of practice do you build up/upon? In what way is your research interdisciplinary? #PBDQ8 How can we reframe the metrics of validation to more greatly value uncertainty and subjectivity in our design research? #PBDQ9 When is a design intervention relevant enough to be considered as a contribution for the Ph.D. thesis? #PBDQ10 As a designer working in cross disciplinary fields, how do I draw from new aeras of expertise without deviating significanty from the design core of my practice?

#PBDQ14 How do we reconcile critical design practice with its analytical account?

#PBDQ18 It’s common for design to be seen as a bridge between disciplines. What if we don’t see ourselves that way? #PBDQ19 How do we create a shared vocabulary to discuss our inventive tool-making practice? #PBDQ20 How can the DRS better demonstrate the importance of reflexivity, subjectivity, and situated knowledge generation within and beyond design research? #PBDQ22 In response to the over-emphasis on evidence-based research, how can the community at DRS articulate the values that design can provide?

#PBDQ25 How would post-qualitative research methods support, disrupt or transform knowledge? #PBDQ26 Could Ph.D. design research that addresses complex systems become a less individual endeavour and embrace collective research practices? #PBDQ27 How can design researchers take distance from their artifacts/methods/events/ theories to create room for critical reflection? Do we always have to sell our products? #PBDQ28 How do we make the things we do travel and have impact in our own and other fields? #PBDQ29 How can we communicate transparently in sustainable design? #PBDQ30 Why does design research matter and who does it matter to most? #PBDQ31 Has the term collaboration been misused or abused in design research?


#PBDQ1 How can we communicate the value of design research in different disciplinary contexts?

The value of design research has to do with its capacity to take a position and make change instead of only observing and describing what happens.

#PBDQ2 Instead of defining research questions and solutions in advance, how do we create the conditions for evolving or unfolding research questions?

More iterations of design prototypes help when making a tangible result, allowing the user of the design to input thoughts and feelings about a design, back into the academic context.

#PBDQ3 There is a tension between everyday application of design research and topdown knowledge production, especially in politically settings. How do designers negotiate their position in such a context?

What is everyday application of design research? Designers know they have a good idea and do it, without justification of questionnaires, studies and academic research, a lot of the time this is because they are the target audience so have a gut feeling something can work. Respect for a designer’s experience and their ideas should be as valid as any professor’s concept of what design is.


Johanna Kleinert TUM Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Responses from Loughborough Design School

Responses from Loughborough Design School

#PBDQ4 How could we disrupt conventional forms of academic publication in order for them to become more public or accessible?

Map your potential interlocutors and consider how to engage with them. Use your outputs to activate situations of non-academic learning. Share your knowledge through workshops and in concrete contexts of critical education. Can you activate the knowledge in your own neighborhood? Build a non-academic design practice around your PhD work. Produce a podcast. Write a song. Ask an artist/craftsperson/cook/gardener/etc. to respond to your research findings. Enrich your position through conversations with contexts and groups that can challenge your findings. Organise a guided tour where you speak about your work and put it in context. Aim at very different levels of engagement. Create a context where people can find out what value your research has for their lives. Notes from a conversation in the park between design researchers Brave New Alps and sound art curator Lucia Farinati. Make designs, put them out there in the public realm. Write in a non-academic context, academic wording and writing is only truly appreciated by the academic community, which is totally valid and relevant, but not outside of that community. And the results have to be designed. Graphic and infographics really help to explain concepts and present data. Responses from Loughborough Design School

#PBDQ5 What kinds of murky ethical questions arise from practiceled research in public spaces?

It’s more a case of health and safety aspects and the pure practicality of doing.

#PBDQ6 Why are toolboxes so common in design research? What are their advantages and limits?

Because they have already been deemed by the academic community as valid.

Responses from Loughborough Design School

Responses from Loughborough Design School


#PBDQ7 Which communities of practice do you build up/upon? In what way is your research interdisciplinary?

Which communities of practice do you build up/upon? In what way is your research interdisciplinary? I create artefacts using soft and bio-inspired robotics material which has life-like perceptual qualities with mechatronicly programable behaviours. Through people’s interaction with these artefacts in relation to their body I question how these artefacts disrupt or crate new dynamics of relations. Therefore the research sits cross the disciplines of fashion making, robotics engineering, computational creativity and social studies and I try to access these communities so as to better frame my research and find the unique contribution of my design research.

#PBDQ8 How can we reframe the metrics of validation to more greatly value uncertainty and subjectivity in our design research?

Maybe just be more honest and respectful about intuition in your research?

#PBDQ11 How do we articulate research outputs beyond academic publishing?

Who do you want to speak to? Then choose the channel to reach them.

Caroline Yan Zheng Royal College of Art

Johanna Kleinert TUM Technische Universitaet Muenchen Where possible, the results have to be in the public realm if tested by the general public as a form of validation. Responses from Loughborough Design School

Johanna Kleinert TUM Technische Universitaet Muenchen Through design editorials, social media and online publishing, but the outputs need to be tangible to the public, not the academic. Responses from Loughborough Design School


#PBDQ15 How can knowledge and speculative thinking be translated into/through material form?

Maria Gabriela Hernandez is an Assistant Professor from the University of Houston–Downtown. I met her over lunch at DRS2016, and she told me about one of her research projects involving the Women’s Association of Chira Island, Costa Rica, which is a rural ecotourism organization. Maria met and interacted with vulnerable populations during this research project. In some cases, literacy levels were quite low, which presented a unique challenge for packaging and presenting research findings to her participants. Traditional ways of presenting results were unlikely to have an impact. Given these constraints, Maria developed a business card-like format to convey her findings to the community. The communities she studied were largely Roman Catholic and, as such, it was common for them to distribute and exchange small cards with spiritual messages or prayers written on them. And although religious practice has declined, the card-giving tradition remains strong in these communities. Maria iterated on this idea—replacing the spiritual message with a succinct message based on her research findings. These messages could be quotes from her participants or single words identifying a broader theme in her findings. The message just had to be deemed relevant or meaningful to the community. The recipients of these cards could then keep them as a souvenir—a kind of empowering artifact of their participation. They could also use them in much the same way as prayer cards— distributing and exchanging them with other people in their community. The cards serve as a tangible record of their reflection and participation. I love that Maria found a way to articulate research outputs in a material form. But above all I admire that she did in a way that leverages a well-established practice in the community. As a researcher, I hope to be able to find such elegant and well-integrated ways to give back to my participants. I see it as an invitation to reflect about research outputs. In some cases, it may be appropriate to invent novel or disruptive ways of distributing findings to have impact on a community, but this is not always necessary. Some mechanisms might already be in place! We just need to look for them. PS: I would like to thank Jordan Beck who participated in the conversation and helped me write this text. Laureline Chiapello Université de Montréal Knowledge and speculative thinking can be translated into material form through the workshop process and experimentation. Continuing research and looking at research methods is critical using new materials, recycled materials and inventing materials in order to embody the new materiality of the future. Through the ideas of suspending judgment, letting the mind wander, curiosity, increased the chances of innovation without the fear of failure. Recording reflecting on research is important, to reflect on findings in determining if things worked or not and to which direction to take more research forward. Jules Findley Royal College of Art


#PBDQ12 What are possible strategies and tactics to navigate the swampiness of post-doc life? What role can the DRS play in this?

“These are ways through it, but they may be not appealing.� Dan Lockton

#PBDQ13 Where does the act of design(ing) end?

Usually, when you have fulfilled the project brief for a client the job is done and the designing is over. However, in relation to a PhD, this is very long, ample time to create and make a physical prototype of some sort that fulfills the theoretical aspects of the study. However, as a designer, you never stop designing as there is a constant need for design exploitation, this should be valid in a research through design PhD.

Johanna Kleinert TUM Technische Universitaet Muenchen The research being linked to industry helps, but then the results need to be tangible to that industry and something that can actually be then implemented, if possible, if it works and if it is a good design. This should not stop more complete theoretical research, but somehow relating to a reality outside of the academic is important. Responses from Loughborough Design School

Responses from Loughborough Design School


#PBDQ15 How can knowledge and speculative thinking be translated into/through material form?

You need to design something, high concept into a tangible object is possible, there is grey areas of why chose one material over another, but usually the end functionality, the human centered approach has real relevance.

Responses from Loughborough Design School

#PBDQ16 What are the politics behind common assumptions in design practice for healthcare?


#PBDQ19 How do we create a shared vocabulary to discuss our inventive tool-making practice?

Tools have a function, tools serve a purpose, and tools suggest skill. Yet the competency with which the tools shared during DRS were crafted and also conveyed varied greatly. Very basic narrative tools which you would expect in a school English clash were portrayed as revolutionary new insight, transformative for design. Clumsy consensus based decision making tools were miss-sold under the enticing heading of design and dissent. Both over promised and under delivered. And it wasn’t until I was able to participate in a well-executed tool sharing workshop that I realised what was absent from the previously lacking encounters. The strength of the tool is directly in proportion to the depth of and confidence in the philosophy which underpins it. Shallow concepts, produce mediocre tools. The Neological Institute workshop, provided little introduction other than expressing the statement of belief which the workshop and tools were built on. We believe in the generative and anticipatory power of neologisms, that through new words we can envision, prepare for and create new worlds. We believe that the words we use alter the ways we think, behave and eventually the way we are. We believe in language as a shaping force of our reality. What followed was an enactment of a workplace generating potential new words, new meanings and new worldviews. The facilitators embodied their belief, enacted the scenario alongside participants and made no justification for the wholly fictitious act of creation which took place. The experience stood for itself and unlike in the previously disappointing workshops, at no point did I want any further explanation as these facilitators so clearly embodied that which they were seeking to share. It strikes me that, it is not a shared vocabulary of tool making which is required, it is in fact a stronger connection to the philosophical motivations which give rise to the tools which requires our attention. And it is not a discussion of tools which is required, it is the curation of contexts in which tools can exist, make sense and in which new users can be immersed to navigate the concepts which seek to be foreground. Anna Louise Spencer Glasgow School of Art

#PBDQ22 In response to the overemphasis on evidencebased research, how can the community at DRS articulate the values that design can provide?


Through illustration of globally successful designs. Responses from Loughborough Design School

#PBDQ23 How can designers approach complex issues while articulating meaning in a transparent way?

Designers can articulate meaning through transparent methods. The pressure on designers to succeed in their problem solving from management is very high. However the innovative laboratories that explore innovative work led through play (suspending judgment) letting the work dictate the outcome rather than the designer assuming the solution, are few and far between. Designers need a playground to explore, a safe laboratory to fail where there are few external economic pressures so that design can evolve into original ideas, materials. These can happen through deconstruction and reconstruction, so that things are re-evolved and ideas re-emergent. Once transparent methods are used, then transparent writing can occur new knowledge can be produced. Disruption can be positive and innovative. Jules Findley Royal College of Art

#PBDQ24 What is the future of practice-led design research?

The future of practice –led design research is innovative. Practice-led needs to be just that, led by the practice, so that the work leads the designers and not the other way round. True innovation happens when judgment is suspended, and not assumed as designers are taught out of practice led innovation into the end product first rather than the other war round. Innovation occurs when it’s the practice, which leads the designer. An example of this is a fashion designer that did not want to make up her final collection in the conventional sense of making patterns and sewing, so she invented her final collection through the use of silicon and creating unusual textures and molds. She then went on to win a prize for design innovation. Jules Findley Royal College of Art

#PBDQ25 How would postqualitative research methods support, disrupt or transform knowledge?


#PBDQ26 Could Ph.D. design research that addresses complex systems become a less individual endeavour and embrace collective research practices?

A lot of the PhD researchers that presented during the PhD By Design Event in Brighton are already deeply entangled in research practices that engage in complex, social issues. A lot of us are working and researching along with public interest groups, NGOs, and other civil organizations. Still most of us are forced to deliver a single authored PhD manuscript in the end. I wonder if there are other possibilities to address such ambitions topics like social change, sustainability and politics in a more networked way. As it was mentioned also during the last session at DRS, the PhD students (us) are producing the biggest workload of design research these days. But we are still bound to institutions, different ways of financing our research and different research agenda in different countries. How could we use the precious time of a practice based design PhD to collaborate on issues present in all countries? How could we start to learn more from different national and cultural perspectives? How could we establish informal (or even formal) research networks of PhD researchers across institutions and countries? Is the doing of a “PhD by Design” of tomorrow a collaborative, multi-authored adventure? As J.C.Jones put it during his talk at the 50th anniversary event: Design research still cares to much about the ego. What if we start to do PhDs as conversations? How could we use the PhD by Design network to establish (different) research practices that are also more conscious about collaboration with civil organisations? I think it is necessary to set up a more participatory design research agenda in order to address the big issues of today in close conversation and exchange with organizations outside the academic world. One good example is the initiative „Forschungswende“ (Research-Transformation; in Germany, which is trying to empower the voice of civil organizations in the setting of research agendas. To link our PhD research more directly and in a fair and careful way to the capacities and knowledge of civil society would not only help to create design research that matters outside the design research world, but would also help design researchers to get aware of the knowledge capacities outside academia. It would enable us to build better on the achievements of others without exploiting them in unbalanced relations and could help to make our practice and finding more transparent (and hopefully relevant) outside academia. (most thoughts by Laura Popplow @cocitylab @make_and_think, in conversation with many others at and after the PhD by Design) Laura Popplow University of Art and Design Linz

#PBDQ27 How can design researchers take distance from their artifacts/methods/ events/theories to create room for critical reflection? Do we always have to sell our products?

No, we don’t have to always sell our products. It comes down to the idea that when designing something, you don’t always have to like it wholeheartedly, it can work to fit the project brief, but do you don’t honestly have to ultimately like it, take it home with you and hang it above your bed. Self-critique comes with experience of actually making designs, and the more you design, the more un-attached from what you produce you can be. You could say it’s a form of maturity as you stop taking critique personally, and can understand other perspectives. Or maybe it’s just the idea that you realized things are different in the world, and other people have other opinions, and that’s totally wonderful too. Responses from Loughborough Design School The PhD by Design Event offered a very rare and precious safe space to reflect on our PhD work through conversation. This offered the opportunity to talk openly about failures and uncertainties, it offered a way to talk about the vulnerability that we all had in common. This was especially present during the talks in small groups in the morning session, when everyone was able to present her/his topic and process and we then discussed about topics that we all had in common. We all felt a shift when this intimate conversation shifted towards an outputoriented negotiation on questions for the conference (that you now can read above). Why was that? What was lost along the way from an open conversation to an enclosure of topics? Somehow the space that we wished to open for reflection was closed again, encapsulated in small twitteresque sentences. The care for the others work that made the morning session so strong was too easily lost in the consumption and “bombardement” with paper sessions, conversations and coffee talks during the overall conference experience. The DRS at some points felt like a busy bazaar, lots of research on offer, difficult to chose, no time for reflections. And most of the research pretended to be the most collaborative, the most STS, the most innovative. Very little modesty and failures where presented that could have been a source for reflection and learning for others. We still have to sell our products. The questions remains: Can we publish our vulnerability? How can we care for our work as a process of failures (and maybe success) and the work of others? (some thoughts by Laura Popplow @cocitylab @make_and_think, in conversation with Rebecca Taylor @cu1turesponge and Trine Højbak Gøttsche @moellertrine at the HUB) Laura Popplow University of Art and Design Linz


#PBDQ28 How do we make the things we do travel and have impact in our own and other fields?

Instead of claiming knowledge territories through writing research papers, is it also possible to make our research things travel? How could we engage in making our findings lightweight, easily to grasp and forwarded in another field? Why is there still so little evidence of design research things that have been adapted in other fields? Is academic publication always the right answer? What are other forms? Does the logic of conferences and paper-production exclude systematically the cooperation and acknowledgement of common knowledge, of networked knowing? Are there other modes of knowledge exchange that are taking more care? How could we network our ideas and work to solve complex or even wicked problems? Should there be more collaboration through connected PhD work (see #PBDQ26)? How do we measure our impact as design researchers in other fields? New question added through the collective reflection that begun in HUB PhD By Design at DRS 2016 - at 12:45/1pm onwards 30.06.2016 and is open for involvement as a messy post- conversation online, please join the collective effort! Nf312IxQgS__owMqSx 0/edit Laura Popplow University of Art and Design Linz

#PBDQ29 How can we communicate transparently in sustainable design?

#PBDQ31 Has the term collaboration been misused or abused in design research?

Probably it has. Collaboration requires several different parties, doing different aspects of a one larger thing. The outcome is thanks to the sum of the parties.

#PBDQ32 What is the Post-Conversation?

Is there a way to have the kind of deep conversation we had at the PhD by Design event but without us having to spend an awful lot of carbon dioxid, money and effort? Or is the effort needed? Can we continue the post-conversation online, through social media or as networked events in different countries? How can we continue to reflect without needing to create an easy consumable outcome? How can we create time for reflecting together?

Responses from Loughborough Design School

Laura Popplow University of Art and Design Linz


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