Lecture summary

April 12, 2018

The practice of design research is an opportunity to create different narratives, a set of questions in relation to your immediate milieu or a general problem that you want to solve. In Hélène Frichots lecture ‘Design Research’, she discusses the importance of the preposition within a design research project. Christopher Frayling implies that there are three approaches to research with regard to art & design; in, through and for. These set of pronouns asks how we understand problems from an outsider’s perspective, what happens within the design act and the act of gathering, collecting references or evidence supporting your research. Peter Downton further describes research in art & design as; about, for and through. These set of propositions asks questions such as; who are we designing for, and how do we observe its implications?


‘Design have an implicit knowing of designing constructed from their previous designing’ –Peter Downton


Jane Rendell, however, describes research between art & architecture as a multi-disciplinary approach, categorizing the research into; scientific (material, technology), humanities (history, theory) and practice-based (new insights). Rendell further explains that the methodological process is flipped, due to designs ability to be intuitive, which is opposite to a scientific led research where the methodology often arises through various trials. This leads to how methodology can be articulated; how do we give importance to it? Perhaps here the importance of the preposition plays an active role, as questions and practice-based design research should be related with its historical questions, who is it for? What are the potential impacts? An active engagement and care of the chosen question and site is crucial as well as the positioning of its prepositions.

Critical research within art & architecture is not only about the story you are engaging with, but also from who’s point of view? Brady Burough in her lecture ‘Flirting with fiction as a Design’ talks about the notion of telling the story and ‘giving serious attention to the unserious’ from different actors, different points of view. This positioning helps avoid making naïve assumptions and prejudice to the subject, users and its context.

Helen Runting in her lecture ‘Theory within Thesis & how to use it’ categorizes theory into five categories; an orientation device, critical theory, good debt, urgency and as design. Theory is a way to orientate us within our milieu, addressing the now, functioning as a device, or tool to provoke something rather than it being therapeutic. Runting further expresses theory as a necessity to point out ‘what is not there’ and ‘the unimaginative, the interesting void and objects for practise, where theory sucks you back into the present’.

Research led design can take on various forms. However, the importance of the preposition and its positioning can begin to tackle and unveil the questions within a methodology. Not to forgetting or neglecting who you are telling the story to, and from who’s point of view?


Antonia Myleus

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