IASDR 2017 workshop
Carlos Teixeira, IIT - Institute of Design and John Zimmerman, Carnegie Mellon University
Design As Research in the Americas (DARIA) is a newly formed organization of design researchers working across academia, industry, and government. Our primary aim is to more effectively communicate the value of design research both within the Americas and across the world. One of our first steps is to better see what is taking place in design research around the world today and to begin to connect the players. IASDR 2017 is the ideal venue for doing so.
Over the last two decades, constructive design research (CDR) — also known as Research through Design — has become an accepted mode of scholarly inquiry within the design research community. CDR is a broad term encompassing almost any kind of research that uses design action as a mode of inquiry. It has been described as having three distinct genres: lab, field, and showroom. The lab and field genres typically take a pragmatic stance, making things as a way of investigating what preferred futures might be. In contrast, research done following the showroom approach (more commonly known as critical design (CD), speculative design, or design fictions) offers a polemic and sometimes also a critique of the current state embodied in an artifact. Recently, we have observed a growing conflict within the design research community between pragmatic and critical researchers. To help reduce this conflict, we call for a divorce between CD and pragmatic CDR. We clarify how CDR and CD exist along a continuum. We conclude with suggestions for the design research community, about how each unique research approach can be used singly or in combination, and how they can push the boundaries of academic design research in new collaboration with different disciplines.