Research through and within Design in Action

Posted on May 25, 2015


Research through and within Design in Action

Nil Gulari and Chris Fremantle Wednesday 27th May, 1.00pm-3.00pm, SB01, Scott Sutherland Building

‘Design in Action’, AHRC funded Knowledge Exchange Hub, is a Scotland-wide partnership across six institutions exploring design as a strategy for economic growth in Scotland.

In this DART Seminar, we have  Michael Pierre Johnson, PhD researcher from Glasgow School of Art and Leigh-Anne Hepburn from Gray’s School of Art to present some of the research undertaken through and within Design in Action.

Nil Gulari, research fellow at Design in Action, based at Gray’s School of Art, will introduce Design in Action and its activities along with the landscape of design Support across Europe.

A visual method of mapping translated from actor-network theory (ANT)

by Michael Pierre Johnson

From innovation-driven cultures to democratic, participatory approaches, engagement with increasingly complex disciplinary situations means that design is becoming a more integrated activity involving collaboration among many different professions. Such an expanding notion of design raises a key challenge in how it can authoritatively represent, as Bruno Latour puts it, the matters of concern in the new ways of working it can bring. In this presentation, the author will share the experiences and challenges of using intensive, sociological approaches in his PhD inquiry, which explores an object-oriented approach for supporting design for preferable futures. Focusing on the role of design things in organisational discourse, the author has developed a visual method of mapping translated from actor-network theory (ANT), while using grounded theory and situational analysis as modes of analysis on the emergent observations and discourse. This complex methodological model was developed across three case studies: design-led business development, SME cultural innovation and digital health. The author will give an account of the tensions created by using such disparate methods to make the role of design more explicit in each case. This tension is then argued towards being resolved by framing design as a performative act.

Micheal is third year, full-time PhD researcher with Design in Action and based within the Institute of Design Innovation at Glasgow School of Art, which has a focus on the wellbeing sector and designing for preferable futures. He is a design researcher experienced in ethnographic research, workshop facilitation and design strategy to inform social and cultural innovation in the organisation of work.

Space: A new design frontier by Leigh Anne Hepburn

This presentation considers notions of space within a collaborative design setting and the role it plays in framing interactions that take place.  Based on research gathered from Design in Action Chiasma events, this research questions the manifestations of space, how it is produced and how is it experienced.  The presentation will also introduce a conceptual framework for exploring space in this context, based on the philosophical theory of Henri Lefebvre.

Leigh-Anne Hepburn is a PhD Researcher with Design in Action, based at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen.

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