• Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Discussion on building French-language design research see more

    This Much I Know (About Design Research): Stéphane Vial

    This is the third interview in a series for the DRS online called This Much I Know (About Design Research). Each article in this series profiles an interesting DRS member to highlight their work and reflections on design research. This time we spoke with Stéphane Vial about his work with Francophone design research communities. Vial is an associate professor of design at the Université de Nîmes in France, and is the author of many esteemed books and articles. 



    What inspires your work on building French design knowledge?

    Like many things, design research is anglocentric. It's important to foster dialogues and research communities in other languages. Further, each language offers its own contributions. For example, French design research often draws on French intellectual traditions.

    So how have you contributed to French-language design research? 

    I’m working to help develop Francophone design research through my publications and community engagement. I wrote an introductory book on design theory and history called Le Design (design). I co-founded Sciences du Design (sciences of design), the first design research journal in France, where I am now editor-in-chief. I also moderate a popular French-language design research mailing list at

    What can other design researchers do to help your project?

    Write in other languages! Sciences du Design accepts articles from Francophones, as well as new papers translated to French. It would also be great to see more localised panels at conferences and special issues of journals published in different languages.

    What is your design research speciality?

    I take a philosophical approach to the digital revolution, exploring how we experience design and the effect of the digital on perception. One of my most read books is L’Être et l’Écran (being and screen), which is currently being translated to English and will be part of the MIT Press' Design Thinking, Design Theory series. Together with Pieter Vermaas, I also co-edited Advancements in the Philosophy of Design, which was just released and will be introduced at the DRS2018 conference. 

    How do you view the DRS?

    The DRS is the origin of design research in Europe and represents research excellence. The conferences are also a great opportunity to meet other design researchers. For example, I met my new collaborator Nynke Tromp at DRS2016!

    What design researchers are you following now?

    I'm really inspired by Nynke Tromp's work on social design and Tomás Dorta's exploration of augmented co-design and research through design.

    What's next?

    I'm excited to announce a new book project called Vocabulaire du Design (design vocabulary). It will be a catalogue of design concepts and definitions, published by the Presses Universitaires de France (University Presses of France). 

    Have you got an inspiring quote to end on?

    "La fin ou le but du design est d’améliorer ou au moins de maintenir l’habitabilité du monde dans toutes ses dimensions" (The end or the goal of design is to improve or, at least, maintain the liveability of the world in all its dimensions) - Alain Findeli


    Interested in getting involved in this interview series? Tell us about your exciting work or nominate another researcher. You can contact Isabel at

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Reviving and reimagining Caribbean craft traditions through computation see more

    This Much I Know (About Design Research)

    This is the second interview in a new series for the DRS online called This Much I Know (About Design Research). Each article in this series profiles an interesting DRS member to highlight their work and reflections on design research. This time we spoke with Vernelle A. A. Noel about her research on craft practices and computation.

    Vernelle is an architect and PhD researcher at Penn State University in the USA. Her work is at the intersections of craft, design, computation and culture. Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean culture and design are central in her work. Her current project explores the Trinidad Carnival and wire-bending craft traditions. She uses computation to help revive wire-bending practices and reinterpret them for application in architecture.



    Reviving and Reimagining Caribbean Craft Traditions

    Why have you focused on Carnival?

    Carnival is an important part of Caribbean history, culture and design. French planters introduced it to Trinidad in the 1780s and newly emancipated slaves reinvented it in the 1830s as a way to celebrate their freedom and creativity. Although it takes place once per year, people spend all year preparing! The festival includes a parade and serious music and costume competitions.

    How is your research related to Carnival?

    My research explores Carnival through a design lens. I’m troubled by the mass-production of costumes, which arrive ready-made from abroad. Design and making traditions risk being lost, so I try to re-engage people in these processes.

    What is it about wire-bending?

    Wire-bending is a beautiful local craft that’s incorporated in Carnival costumes. The details are astonishing! However, it’s a difficult and labour intensive process done mostly by men.

    How are you encouraging people to engage with wire-bending?

    I’ve been exploring how wire-bending can be reinterpreted through computation and digital technology, which I believe will help increase access to the craft, especially for women and children. I also have a background in architecture, so I’m investigating the application of wire-bending in architectural form.

    What are the outcomes of your research so far?

    I've been able to make wire-bending knowledge explicit and hold craft workshops. Youth seem engaged by computational making and the technology facilitates collaboration. Wire-bending is usually a solitary activity, so it’s exciting to consider the possibilities of group making. I’ve also been experimenting with wire-bending and developing prototypes (images above).

    What do you think about the DRS?

    Community is very important to me, so I love that the DRS brings together a strong design research community. 

    What design researchers are especially inspirational in your work?

    I draw on theorists like Nigel Cross and Michael Reddy, but one of my biggest inspirations was my professor Lucienne Blessing. She taught a course on design research, which helped me understand the field.

    How can readers learn more about Caribbean design?

    I enjoy reading Maco, a Caribbean design and lifestyle magazine.


    Interested in getting involved in this interview series? Tell us about your exciting work or nominate another researcher. You can contact Isabel at

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    We speak to Søren about his Design Research Failures project and vision for design research see more

    This Much I Know (About Design Research)

    This is the first interview in a new series for the DRS online called This Much I Know (About Design Research). Every month or so, we’ll profile an interesting DRS member to highlight their work and reflections on design research. This month, we speak to PhD Researcher Søren Rosenbak about his Design Research Failures project and his vision for the future of design research.

    Søren is a PhD candidate in design as critical practice at the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden. His research revolves around the question of how pataphysics can infuse and advance a critical design practice. He has a background in visual communication, interaction design and filmmaking. Søren's academic and professional background helped inspire the Design Research Failures project, which he launched at DRS2016.



    Søren Rosenbak: Fail fast, succeed sooner in design research? 

    What is Design Research Failures?

    It's a project that asks participants: in what way has design research failed in the last 50 years? I first introduced it at DRS2016, with support from a 50th Anniversary bursary. Since then, the project has expanded and taken place at several conferences and other events. It also lives online at

    How did you come up with the idea?

    The project was a reaction to the 50th Anniversary of the DRS. Instead of being purely celebratory and focused on successes, this landmark seemed to me like an important moment to ask difficult questions and for the DRS to engage in self-critique. I thought this reflective process could then inform how design research moves forward into the next half-century.

    How do pataphysics and critical practice fit it?

    These ideas are a major influence for me, they help encourage critical thinking which help destabilize and move beyond notions of fixed ‘truth.’

    Why is failing so important to you?

    Failure is celebrated in design practice, but design researchers rarely honour or even articulate their failures. I think this is a missed opportunity that could help advance design research.

    Why do you think the project worked?

    Diversity is a major strength in the project. Different answers coming from different researchers make the results richer and encourage discussion. While the project is inherently open-ended, certain themes have started to emerge. I'm trying to pull these common threads together at the moment! 

    What do you think about the DRS?

    The DRS is inspiring to me. While it’s a major design research organization with a long history, its encouraging to see the DRS actively embrace new ideas and engage in self-critique. Hopefully this will continue and, over time, help respond to some new design research failures.

    How can others connect with your project?

    I'd love to get others involved with the project. Design researchers can use the project for themselves and adapt it to their own needs. Local and situated discussions and workshops would offer a valuable contribution to the larger conversation.

    What piece of advice would you give to design researchers?

    Of course: fail fast, succeed sooner!


    Søren would like to thank the many amazing people who have helped make Design Research Failures a reality. Project credits are available online at 

    Interested in getting involved in this interview series? Tell us about your exciting work or nominate another researcher. You can contact Isabel at

  • Peter Lloyd posted an article
    New DRS Online Editor for increasing engagement with members see more

    I'd like to introduce myself as the new Online Editor for the Design Research Society. My name is Isabel Prochner and I'm a design researcher based in Montreal, Canada. I love the sense of community that develops around design research and at DRS events. Together with the DRS communications team, I’m looking forward to fostering this community year-round. My goal is to engage members from across the world and expand existing networks. I also aim to make the DRS website and social media accounts an even more valuable resource for members.

    In the coming year, you can expect: regular articles on the DRS website and social media platforms that showcase the exciting work being done by members and happening in design research; enhanced Events and Jobs and Opportunities sections on the website, making them an excellent source for design research announcements; and community engagement activities to keep the DRS online platforms buzzing.

    You can e-mail me with questions or ideas at

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    JDT is dedicated to academic study of design thinking, creativity and cognition see more

    There is a growing list of great new design research journals, with She Ji and Sciences du Design (est. 2015) as prime examples. The most recent addition is the Journal of Design Thinking (JDT), dedicated to academic study of design thinking, creativity and cognition, as well as the broader topic of industrial design. Dr. Yassaman Khodadadeh, Editor-in-Chief of JDT, kindly spoke with us about her vision for this new journal. Khodadadeh is an Associate Professor of Design at the University of Tehran – and was, in fact, the first person to hold this faculty position in Iran!

    Top Left: University of Tehran during a workshop with TU Delft | Top Right: Dr. Yassaman Khodadadeh


    What are your hopes for JDT?

    The goal is to provide a valuable publication space for researchers worldwide and provide a possibility for exchange of ideas.

    How does JDT compare to other journals, locally and globally?

    The JDT is the first International specialized design research journal based in Iran. However, it aims to contribute to high quality design research at international and national levels.

    With these impressive goals in mind, Khodadadeh and the JDT editorial board have announced the call for papers for their first issue:

    In preparation for the first issue of the Journal of Design Thinking, we invite submissions on design thinking, design practice, the relationships between design theory and practice, reflective practice and conceptualization challenges. Please submit a paper title, abstract (max. 300 words) and author bio by February 20, 2019. Submissions must be sent by email to Alma Zanjanian, JDT Executive Director, at

    We will evaluate abstracts through blind review and invite authors of accepted abstracts to submit a manuscript at a later date.