A research degree by practice, surely not?
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The proposition set out in the paper is that throughout the process of retrieving ideas a creative practitioner should endeavour to continue to think in a creative way. It should be possible to use a key skill of creative practice of drawing on a very wide range of ideas and flocking them together in a synergistic analysis. This skill set is one of the things that particularly sets industrial designers apart from others’ intellectual attempts to engage with the problems and opportunities presented by the complexity of human–technology relationships. As designers, we have developed a number of strategies for resolving a degree of fluid complexity into rather simple applications. The techniques used in an industrial design project appeared to be an ideal means to come to terms with the implications of doctoral research. I propose that research should be (and can be) presented in that spirit as a form of practice, drawing together and testing in a synoptic manner an eclectic range of ideas. In that way, it might have some chance of coming together like a design solution. Ideas presented in this manner open the way for design research to regain its place at the centre, rather than the periphery, of intellectual debate in the design community.
Paper delivered at the WIRAD 1st National Symposium for Emerging Art & Design Researchers, Hilton Hotel, Newport
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