Seminar: Ways of drifting in research through design

Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, Põhja pst 7, Tallinn

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Date:November 7-8, 2018

Venue: Estonian Academy of Arts, Põhja pst 7

Lecturer: Thomas Markussen


Research through design is about understanding how processes of designing and creating artworks can serve as the primary method of inquiry into questions relevant for art and design. Originally, the method was described by Christopher Frayling (1993) and Bruce Archer (1995), and since then many different suggestions for what the characteristics of research through design have been presented. This 2-day seminar offers PhD students visual sketching techniques and methodological tools that can be used to clarify how they practice research through design. Based on readings and the students’ position papers, we will be using visual models and diagrams to map out the role played by designerly and artistic experiments in the students’ own projects? Questions that will be addressed are: How can experiments in art and design serve as means for inquiry? How do we account for knowledge produced by these experiments? Each day will be framed by a talk that will set up a conceptual space for collective work.


Thomas Markussen is associate professor and co-founder of the Social Design Research Unit, at the University of Southern Denmark. In his work, Markussen focuses on how design can be used as a political and critical aesthetic practice, notably in the fields of social design, design activism and design fiction. He is one of the contributors to the recently published book Practice-based Design Research, edited by Laurene Vaughan, and has previously been head of phd education at Kolding School of Design. His other publications include journal articles such as “The disruptive aesthetics of design activism: enacting design between art and politics” (Design Issues); “Disentangling the ‘social’ in social design’s engagement with the public realm” (CoDesign); and “The politics of design activism – from impure politics to parapolitics” appearing in Routledge’s forthcoming book Design and Dissent.


Theseminar is open to PhD and MA students and researchers with ongoing research projects. Registration is open until 26.10.


Particpants must submit a position paper (max 1 page) that describe their PhD project. The paper should provide understanding of the aim of the project, primary research questions, methods and the students training and background. Please send your paper to elika.kiilo@artun.eeby 30.10

As preparation for the seminar, participants will be asked to read:

Bang., A-L; Ludvigsen, M; Krogh P-G & Markussen, T. (2012):The Role of Hypothesis in Constructive Design Research. The Art of Research Conference, Aalto University, Helsinki.

Krogh, P-G; Markussen, T & Bang, A-L (2015): ICord’15 – International Conference on Research into Design, Springer Verlag.

The text will be made available upon registration.


Students can earn 2 credit points (ECTS) for participation.


Preliminary Program


Wednesday, Nov 7

13:00-14:00Introduction to Research through Design – a murky concept or expanding methodology?, talk by Thomas Markussen


14:15-15:30 Group work – understanding the basic elements of research through design PhD projects


15:45-16:30 PhD Poster exhibition


Thursday, Nov 8

9:30-10:30Ways of drifting – 5 methods for experimenting in research through design, talk by Thomas Markussen


10:45-11:45 Group work on the role of designerly and artistic experiments in research through design PhD projects


12:30:-13:15 Group work on the role of designerly and artistic experiments in research through design PhD projects

13:15-14:30 Collective sharing and presenting


This event is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, supported by the ASTRA project of the Estonian Academy of Arts – EKA LOOVKÄRG (European Union, European Regional Development Fund).

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Posted by Elika Kiilo

Academic Affairs OfficeDoctoral SchoolFaculty of Art and Culture