First quarter: research through design fiction

It’s been a busy first few months, working along two strands: conducting interviews with interaction designers about their practice, and exploring opportunities for case studies to focus more in-depth inquiry.

RTD Round-table format

Research Through Design Round-table format. Image reproduced courtesy of Joyce Yee.

As part of the case study exploration, I’ve been involved in organising a new conference called ‘Research Through Design‘, held at the Baltic Mill, Newcastle. This conference experimented with a new format to enhance the presentation and dissemination of creative, practice-based research. RTD incorporated a curated exhibition of artefacts alongside peer-reviewed paper presentations; the presentations formed round-table table discussions with delegates, with the exhibition artefacts ‘to-hand’ at each session to illustrate and demonstrate the work. We are currently gathering feedback from participants and delegates on the RTD experience, to evaluate this format. In the meantime, some reviews of the conference are available online: Vicky Teinaki’s conference summary; Carolina Figueroa’s summary on selected works; Richard Banks’ notes on Rachel Wingfield’s keynote; Richard Banks’ notes on Session 1, Day 1; Jon Rogers’ storify piece.

Alongside this, I’ve been exploring a practice-based approach called design fiction, and, specifically, exploring what it means to use this approach to collaborate with interdisciplinary research teams. One strand of this exploration is encapsulated in a workshop run as a collaboration between Newcastle, Nottingham and Northumbria universities, which focused on the craft of story construction within a design fiction by an interdisciplinary team.

And finally, I’ve just returned from The Knowledge Exchange interactive conference, hosted by Imagination Lab at Lancaster University. This fostered discussion and brainstorming on the development of tools and processes to support partnership and ‘knowledge exchange’ between academic institutions and the creative industries, of relevance to the fellowship project. An interesting consideration to emerge from these discussions for me was the potential use of play, fiction and magic as a route to discovering the ‘unknown unknowns’ in others’ working cultures.


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