Design out loudby Gerbrand van Melle on 16/07/2012
Today the second semester at AUT starts and tomorrow morning I’m going to meet my group of students. They’re going to work on their major project this semester. Exhibtion in November. Exciting times!
Embedding research into their work is pivotal to their work. My aim is to have each research investigation shaped within a framework proposed by Frayling (1993). It addresses “Research where the end product is an artefact where the thinking is, so to speak, embodied in the artefact, where the goal is not primarily communicable knowledge in the sense of verbal communication, but in the sense of visual or iconic or imagistic communication” (p.4).
The framework proposes distinct research categories:
- Research into the design of the artefact, its technical objectives, its target group audience, its aims and objectives.
- Research for the design of the artefact, user design related issues such cultural diversity.
- Research through design of the artefact, iterative prototyping (learning by doing)context.
The students are supported in conducting research underpinning the practical projects, as well as this framework is providing the student with the necessary tools and insights to undertake the research required in their project.
In 2009 I had the pleasure to attend a round table session with Sir Frayling and I will never forget his expression: “Form follows fiction”. His strong believe to create a safe environment in which students are enabled to discover new found land, to map their curiosity for new stuff, creates a solid base to make things happen.
Gordon Pask in his essay The Cybernetic Psychology of Pleasure states that “Man is prone to seek novelty in his environment and, having found a novel situation, to learn how to control it” (1968, p. 76). He explained that humans like to explore, discover and explain their surroundings and it is by doing so that they learn to control that environment, opening up new areas for development. Pask goes on to describe aesthetically potent environments as “…environments designed to encourage or foster the type of interaction which is (by hypothesis) pleasurable” (p. 76).
According to his research these environments:
- Must provide sufficient variety to provide novelty.
- Must provide forms that can be interpreted at various levels of abstraction.
- Must provide cues to guide learning.
- Must be responsive and engage the player in discourse.
In summary the oncoming twelve weeks will be all about making and main focus will be on the joy of learning by doing. Good luck Alessandra, Max, Sophie, Rhianna, Helena, Bronte, Totty, Sam, Blake, Shirlee and Lilian!
Frayling, C. (1993). Research in Art and Design. Royal College of Art Research Papers, 1(1), 1-5.
Pask, G. (1971, originally published in 1968). A comment, a case history, and a plan. In Reichardt, J. (Ed), Cybernetics, Art and Ideas, 76-99.