13 October 2004
Melbourne (Australia) - The design research conference FUTUREGROUND has released the synopsis of the keynote address by Clive Dilnot, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Parsons School of Design in New York, United States.
Melbourne (Australia) - The design research conference FUTUREGROUND* has released the synopsis of the keynote address by Clive Dilnot, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Parsons School of Design in New York, United States. The design historian and theorist will focus on the definition, challenges and potential of design research. He one of three esteemed keynote speakers at the conference to be held 17-21 November 2004 at Monash University, Australia.

The following is a precis of Clive Dilnot's keynote address:

'What might be the content of design research?'
This paper will ask about the promise and the actuality of design research, alluding to, though not dealing in depth with, the history of the last half-century. Partly with reference to the "optimistic" horizons charted by Simon, the gap between promise and actuality (the continuing failure of design to occupy a place 'in the minds of other disciplines') will be considered in terms of the difficulties of our "seeing" design.

Beginning with the failure, within design as without, to grasp the significance for design of the changed standing of artifice and the mutating roles of technology or to recognize, equally significantly, the growing disjuncture between knowledge in design and knowledge of design, the talk will ask in particular about how we understand that design (as a potential field of knowledge, as well as a mode of practice) stands to the wider relational context of which it is a part specifically to the world now made over as, in effect, artifice.

To what extent is the content of design, and therefore the potential content of "design research" artifice? And if this is so, what does this mean, both for design studies, and for research as the central mode of activity we undertake in terms of elucidating that knowledge? But is research in fact the appropriate way of gaining knowledge concerning design? What, in design, might research occlude quite as much (or more) than it might illuminate?

The paper will ask some hard questions, both about research and about whether design might itself pose a challenge to research and whether, therefore, we might need to re-conceptualize (re-design) design research, to set a new (critical and ethical) agenda for it and establish a different relation between knowledge, reflection and interpretation in relation to design.

The rest of the paper will examine the challenges and possibilities involved in doing this. Grounded in an ontological understanding of design action that can be brought to visibility and articulation only through reflective (hermeneutic) and pragmatic perspectives, I would like to look at the ways in which design as itself a mode of understanding (a revealing) can be brought together with ways of thinking and knowing about artifice.

The goal will be to help us become much clearer, in terms of possibilities, at once about the specific content of research into (or about or though design), about the knowledge we might then access and hence about the content (i.e., the knowledge) that design might offer to other disciplines.

Clive Dilnot
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Parsons School of Design
New York, United States

FUTUREGROUND is an international design research conference that will cover an extensive range of topics, including human-centred design, sustainability, architecture, industrial design, engineering, philosophy, visual communication, design practice and education. The keynote speakers are: Prof. Mark Burry, Director, Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Dr. John Armstrong, Department of Philosophy, Melbourne University; Clive Dilnot, Parsons School of Design, New York. To date, FUTUREGROUND will present 200 papers and 8 daily parallel sessions, and represent 100 universities from 32 countries. The conference will be held 17-21 November 2004 at Monash University, Victoria, Australia.**

For further information please contact:

Futureground Conference
C/O The Meeting Planners
91-97 Islington Street Collingwood, VIC 3066
F: + 61 3 9417 0899
W: www.futureground.monash.edu.au

* FUTUREGROUND is endorsed by Icograda. Icograda endorsement is a guarantee that the design event complies with approved international guidelines.

**Monash University is a member of the Icograda Education Network (IEN) education.icograda.org