30 October 2004
Melbourne (Australia) - FUTUREGROUND has released the third of three keynote abstracts of the design research conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Melbourne (Australia) - FUTUREGROUND* has released the third of three keynote abstracts of the design research conference in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Mark Burry, Director of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology will be speaking about the interdisciplinary nature of design in his presentation entitled 'Convergent Design'. Much of Professor Burry's research is practice-based, and is of direct application in design and architecture. He has published widely on design, construction, and the use of computers in design theory and practice, and has challenged architecture through both theory and practice.

The following is a precis of Mark Burry's keynote address:

'Convergent Design'
Is the 21st century multi-skilled designer as an unlikely jack of all digital trades, and therefore master of none?

In our post digital age we might assume that digital techniques have fully supplanted the traditional, and that each design discipline will have consolidated its territory having developed its own range of technology and software to match, in most cases, centuries old practice. While opportunities abound for borrowing from other disciplines - medical digital measurement devices - industrial design and aeronautical design software - architecture for example, just how we pick-up the necessary transfer of skills, and adapt our research and learning to suit the opportunities for transdisciplinary practice remain unclear. Territorial boundaries are defended, intransgressible doctrinaire positions remain intact, and the generational divide between elder and experienced non-adopters and younger but relatively inexperienced digital blades inadequately bridged.

The clue for moving forward as design researchers and practitioners might be through 'convergent design', where designers meld their respective crafts towards a common goal which may not have the descriptors with which we are most familiar, nor preserve the traditional rights of the designer to be recognised as 'sole author'. Architects who become adept at designing video game spatial environments along with their new colleagues, the collaborating experts in sound design and computer science might all become 'collaborative virtual environment designers'. In making an interactive wall surface, engineers, interior designers, industrial designers, and systems designers might become 'haptic environment designers'. This paper will identify such projects as real case studies, and in so doing will discuss the issues of, and differences between, multidisciplinary, cross disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design. The paper will make a case for simply dropping the need for the identification and lionising of the sole author in favour of identifying the 'team leader'.

Professor Mark Burry
Director, Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

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, Melbourne, Australia.**

A full list of speakers is available at conference website www.futureground.monash.edu.au

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