Guidelines for setting up a new DRS SIG
Ratified by DRS Council January 2008
In response to suggestions by its international membership, the Design Research Society (DRS) has established this scheme for setting up Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as a way of providing its members with a forum for developing specific interests and to enable them to engage and work actively together around the world.
The notes that follow are intended to support the work of the groups and regulate their operation on an organisational level.
- SIGs should be concerned with a developing area of research in design and be able to demonstrate that. Ideally the area of interest should have implications for a range of disciplines in design.
- They should be international in scope – not bounded by a regional or institutional interest. The main aim is to develop collaborations between DRS members.
Organisation and group membership
- Every SIG has a Convenor, an organising group, and a group membership.
- The SIG is led by the convenor and three members who form the organising group.
- There is no restriction on the number of ordinary members of any one SIG
- SIG members should normally be members of DRS.
- SIGs have the purpose of attracting new DRS members. Therefore any SIG is expected to have a public face (e.g. public discussion list) where DRS members and non-members can interact, while SIG activities will be restricted to DRS members
- Any person who is not a DRS member but wishes to make a contribution to a particular SIG may do so at the discretion of the SIG organising group for a limited period of time, after which time this person should be asked to make a decision either for formal membership or to leave the SIG.
- Any DRS member can join any SIG. However, it is expected that any member would not normally join more than one SIG to ensure the group members’ active participation in their respective group.
- Any DRS member who wants to join a SIG can do so by writing to its convenor declaring their wish to join a particular SIG.
- Each SIG will nominate one member of its organising group to be a member of the DRS SIG Committee, chaired by a member of DRS Council.
- The SIG committee will assess proposals for new SIGs and monitor the progress and relevance of existing SIGs. The SIG committee will advise and mentor individual SIGs but their main responsibility will be to decide on the creation of new SIGs and closure of existing ones which are no longer meeting the Society’s aims as set out in this document.
Starting or closing a SIG
- Any member of the DRS can propose a new SIG.
- To form a new SIG, at least 4 DRS members are required to form the initial group (convenor + organising group).
- To start a new SIG, a formal proposal has to be made to DRS Council, using the SIG application form. Before making a proposal, it should be considered whether the intended SIG might be accommodated by an existing SIG.
- The proposal for a new SIG needs to include:
- the names and CVs of its convenor and organising group;
- a clear description of the area of interest and why it is distinctive and timely;
- a statement of its aims in supporting and developing research in this area; and
- a description of the practical steps it will take to achieve those aims.
Operation of SIGs (including income & convenor’s duties)
- A SIG should establish its own channel for communication, such as a jiscmail list, a wiki or similar, by which members can communicate.
- A SIG will usually run an annual or biennial workshop or other event specifically concerned with its special interest.
- A SIG will normally contribute to the DRS Biennial conference by running a special session or other event that enhances the quality and richness of the conference.
- A SIG should be self-sustaining and look to raise any income it needs through the events it runs. The general principle is to be low-cost to run and low cost to take part and to seek any basic support needed from the institutions represented in the SIG.
- SIGs will not receive any financial support from DRS* but DRS will endorse the activities of the SIG, promote it to members and beyond, provide opportunities to publicise activities and report on developments through DRQ and DRN. DRS will also develop SIG areas in its website (which is being reworked and relocated at present so that might take a while)
- The SIG Convenor will arrange for a separate financial account/budget to be maintained at their institution to hold any income from SIG activities, ring-fenced to ensure that the funds can only be spent on SIG activities. If this is impossible alternative arrangements can be proposed to DRS Council.
- The SIG convenor will make an annual report (500 words) to DRS council outlining the SIGs activities, membership and progress against its aims.
- The SIG Convenor will keep an accurate record of SIG membership.
*DRS will review whether it can give financial support to SIGs and may decide to provide a small start-up grant