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Design Research

Seminar | Date: 01.10 – 02.10 – 03.10.2018

Location: Department of Humanities, classroom 118 – via Tommaso Gar, 14 Trento 

In a series of three lectures, Tom Bieling will attempt to clarify the concept of Design Research and discuss its relevance and theoretical/practical application. The core argument is that design research offers an entry to conceptualizing the artificial interfaces of design through which we meet the world, which may take many forms such has material objects, virtual spaces, hybrid systems, and social processes.

Dr. des. Tom Bieling, Visiting Professor, Design Research Lab – Universität der Künste Berlin

The first lecture (1.10) will present a framework for conceptualizing Design Research as mainly subdivided into Research about Design, Research for Design, and Research trough Design. Self-evidently, the design of products, technologies, services, systems, virtual worlds and tangible objects always implicitly transmits role models and values. Design and the images it disseminates, often unreflectively, are hence unavoidably political. Thus design is an effective force in shaping not only material culture, but also societal values and human behavior. Investigating on the three above mentioned levels of design research, shall help us to gain a deeper understanding concerning the potentials as well as the pitfalls of design as a ‘critical practice’.

The second lecture (2.10.) will discuss, how digital technology affects the ontology, the aesthetics as well as the (constantly new emerging) fields practice in Design. For instance we will discuss the notion of embodied interaction, as an approach for investigating new forms of interactions between humans and the digital world. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of body and mind, and not least exploring ways of making digital content tangible.

The third lecture (3.10.) will discover how Design (Research) impacts other scientific disciplines, and – even more important – the social field in general. While historically designers have attempted to induce social change by designing objects, today (social) design understands itself as a change agent in a much more direct relation to the social. In that the focus of this lecture will be on questions regarding social transformation, urban communities, participation and engagement, as well as social, cultural, ecological and economical sustainability.


Lecture I
Monday, 1. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Introducing Design Research

Lecture II
Tuesday, 2. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Applying Design Research

Lecture III
Tuesday, 2. October 2018, 5–8 pm
17.00 – 20.00 Projecting Design Research