The 18th October saw Nottingham Trent University host the DRS AGM and Symposium in the new Nottingham Conference Centre for 35 participants, chaired by Prof. Tom Fisher of NTU’s School of Art and Design. Three speakers addressed the subject of the symposium, ‘Knowledge Exchange & Impact: Design Research; Design Practice’ from different points of view. Dr. Emma Wakelin, Associate Director of Programmes at the AHRC described Design Research that the AHRC has funded in the past.
Emma left the audience with a series of questions to help frame the AHRC’s support for Design Research. She asked if this should comprise:
- Developing research culture?
- Developing research leaders?
- Stimulating interactions/exchange outside HE?
For Emma's PowerPoint presentation, 'Raising the profile of Design research?' please click here.
Dr Wakelin’s talk was followed by a presentation from Joe Ferry, Head of Design at the Intercontinental Hotels Group. He gave a compelling account of the role he has played managing design at IHG and at Virgin Atlantic, particularly commenting on the role of research in this process, and the importance of a pragmatic view on the cross-disciplinary inputs to major projects such as the Virgin ‘First Class Cabin’. Joe’s talk stimulated a good deal of interest from the audience, made up as it was by academics rather than practitioners, particularly so in that it is in work like his that the impact of Design Research should be felt.
Rounding off the symposium was a presentation from Prof. Paul Greenhalgh, Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Contemporary Art at the University of East Anglia. Paul is the Chair of Panel for Unit of Assessment 34 in the upcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK, which covers Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory. Giving what he indicated was an outsider’s view – he worked in the USA for some years until 2010 – he emphasised key differences between the REF and the previous research assessment regime, the RAE. The most significant changes is the introduction of a new category of assessment – ‘impact’. Paul gave the view that art and design is well placed to identify credible and significant impacts from its research. For Paul's PowerPoint presentation, 'The Research Excellence Framework' please click here.
Dr Tom Fisher
Professor of Art and Design
School of Art and Design
Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham NG1 4BU
0115 848 8455