Research in design at postgraduate level 8 questions, 0 answers, 1 suggestion. Margaret Lonergan Department of Visual Communication NCAD 22.04.05. Press the RETURN key to move through the slide show. Some slides have animations — continue pressing the RETURN key to move through these.
Research in design at postgraduate level
8 questions, 0 answers, 1 suggestion
Margaret Lonergan Department of Visual Communication NCAD 22.04.05
Press the RETURN key to move through the slide show.
Some slides have animations — continue pressing the RETURN key to move through these.
Press the DELETE key to return to a previously viewed slide.
This short presentation addresses the subject of research at postgraduate level from the perspective of the design disciplines
(with specific reference to the discipline of Visual Commmunication).
It articulates eight key questions that have arisen for me in my role
as the head of a department in the Faculty of Design, and as a postgraduate student carrying out practice-based research at PhD level.
The eight questions appear in large white type at the end of each slide and are listed together on the second last slide.
On slide 14, one suggestion is made about a possible orientation for students undertaking practice-based research in art and design.
There are 16 slides in total.
This is one of the first artist’s drawings I ever saw. I was very young, maybe 5 or 6 years old, and it was in an encyclopedia that we had at home.
I remember thinking: “This drawing is amazing — but why has he ruined it by writing all over it?”
Now, I recognise it as an excellent example of practice based research.
“It’s incredibly refreshing to have a week in a place like this where everyone is really thinking about what they’re doing and asking questions. You know, when you’re working in the studio, your face is up against the computer every day and it’s your whole world.”
Garech Stone, The Stone Twins Design Agency, Amsterdam.
Comment made during week as a Visiting Lecturer in Visual Communication, April 2005
So, what is everyone thinking about and what are these questions they’re all asking?
Pluralism and the blurring of disciplinary boundaries;
The designer as author/auteur;
The dynamic between personal experimentation and professional practice;
The aesthetic constraints/opportunities of digital communication and information technologies;
The desire to find new contexts or redefine roles;
Ethics and social responsibilities /global corporate culture / sustainable consumerism ;
The relationship between progressive educational theory and mainstream professional practice.
• Design education, awareness, and the future of critical thinking/writing on design.
Reasons for research in design (a)
To make a place for questions that won’t fit in anywhere else.
To challenge the parameters of practice.
To extend personal capability and capacity.
To participate in a questioning community.
To really think about what we’re doing.
To be refreshed.
1. What motivates our research?
Reasons for research in design (b)
To make the implicit explicit.
To formally articulate and share a body of knowledge.
To critically reflect on practice and develop new philosophical understandings.
To interrogate, re-imagine or redefine the role of the designer.
To question the function of design in culture and society.
To create an accessible continuum of inquiry.
2. What philosophy will underpin our research?
Reasons for research in design (c)
To attract funding and support.
To maintain the status of the discipline in an academic context.
To respond to current and future developments in 3rd level education.
To achieve excellence and lead innovation in industry.
To set an agenda for the development of design in Ireland.
To achieve and offer excellence in design education.
To contribute to social and cultural development.
3. What aims will drive our research?
Why not just practice?
“[In mainstream practice] once a design problem is resolved, it disappears from the mind of the designer. Designers do not document their work [process] — during the project they just want to continue designing.”
Understanding Design —
150 Reflections on Being a Designer
4. How will we document our practice?
Why not just write about it?
Retrospective documentation is almost impossible because the design process is a complex web of choices and decisions.
When looking at a successful finished piece of design, it is difficult to remember or imagine the many aspects that were problematic before this resolution was reached.
Iconographic ‘stories’ about the solution can be told and received, but the deep history can’t be followed by another practitioner, learned from, and adapted in order to solve new problems .
5. How will our practice become meaningfulresearch?
Tensions, dynamics and forms
An art or design artefact made in the cause of research will always function on more than one level raising questions about
Nature: Is this artefact the object of the research, the subject of the research, or the research itself?
Function:Is this artefact to be interpreted or utilised on its own terms, or is it only to be understood as the answer to a research question?
Context: Exhibition, publication or presentation?
Value:How is value apportioned across aesthetic elements and pure research elements?
Purpose:Is the final purpose reflective; industrial; provocative; academic?
6. What forms will our research take?
This research is dedicated to…
Undergraduate design students and/or
The design research community and/or
Designers in mainstream practice and/or
Culture and society and/or
Industry and technology
7. Who is our research for and how will it be shared?
Relationships with industry
Two statements and their implications
1. “It’s incredibly refreshing to be in a place like this…”
2. A key remit of design research is to serve the needs of industry
8. How will the relationship between design research and industry be understood, defined and negotiated?
So you should simply make the artefact
Stand out, without in the process hiding
What you are making it stand out from.
That progression of one-thing-after-another, that attitude of
Working up what you have taken on. In this way
You will show the course of events and also the course
Of your work, permitting the audience
To experience it on many levels…
They are standing not only
In front of your work but also
In the world.
A way of researching
Image from ‘The Garden of Intelligence — A practice based research project at Dublin Zoo’.
M Lonergan 2003
Text adapted from Bertold Brecht’s instructions to actors
What motivates our research?
What philosophy will underpin our research?
What aims will drive our research?
How will we document our practice?
How will our practice become meaningfulresearch?
What forms will our research take?
Who is our research for and how will it be shared?
How will the relationship between design research and industry be understood, defined and negotiated?
Margaret Lonergan BDes, MA
Head of Department of Visual Communication
Faculty of Design
National College of Art and Design
100 Thomas Street
00 353 1 6364281