Design Research Methods Festival

The annual Design Research Methods Festival of the HKB / MA DESIGN is dedicated to theories and methods relevant to design and to design research. Over the course of six half-day workshops, invited experts introduce our students and a limited number of outside listeners to why and how they do what they do.

Design Research Methods Festival 2018

Monday, 5. November 2018, 9:30–12:30
APPRECIATE COMPLEXITY AND KEEP THE INFORMATION FLOWING: SYSTEMATIC STORYTELLING AS A METHOD TO MAKE COMPLEXITY ACCESSIBLE by Gerlinde Schuller

Complex information has become part of our everyday life – still, most people feel overstrained by it. Information designers are challenged to find effective methods to filter and organize ‘information overload’ and to give it meaning. Gerlinde Schuller examines the method of systematic storytelling in her own research projects in order to unfold compound narratives. In her presentation, she will introduce projects where systematic rules govern the structure and enhance the understanding of intricate subjects. During the workshop session, students will work on developing their own visual system for communicating complexity.

Monday, 5. November 2018, 13:30–16:30
BY MARIA: BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE DESIGNER – SHOEMAKER–CUSTOMER NETWORK by Catalina Jossen Cardozo

By Maria is a revolutionizing platform to design, produce and sale of footwear on three levels. First, with the service Design Toolkit, designers can produce their shoe collection. Secondly, consumers can acquire bespoke designer footwear that addresses the needs of their feet through the service Know Your Feet. Finally, Colombian shoemakers get a service that reduces poverty and increases their quality of life. This intervention shows how design, through specific methodologies, has facilitated accessing a well-established system such as the footwear industry, which seems otherwise impervious to change.

Tuesday, 6. November 2018, 9:30–12:30
CREATIVITY, ROBOTS AND THE NEED OF FICTION by Maria Smigielska

The lecture and the following discussion will focus on multiple approaches towards automated procedures, contributing to the enhancement of creative culture and human knowledge. Use of industrial robot for performative processes and post-industrial fabrication in a democratized and non-standard fashion will be presented along with the knowledge automation with the use of machine learning and other data-driven strategies incorporated in the design process.

Tuesday, 6. November 2018, 13:30–16:30
WRITING CRITICALLY AS A FEMINIST PRACTICE OF DESIGN by Maya Ober and Anja Neidhardt

Designers don’t write. They might put words on paper, formulate briefs, short project descriptions and product strategies. However, writing as a practice of reflecting critically on design is rarely the case. We argue that writing purposely does not form an integral part of design curricula, as it fosters criticality and by doing so challenges the oppressive discourse of design’s neutrality and universality. But what happens when designers start writing.

Wednesday, 7. November 2018, 9:30–12:30
THE SOCIAL SIDE OF IMAGE PRODUCTIONS by Sandra Mooser

Collaborative art projects offer innovative ways to not only produce new images but also to understand the social processes associated with their production. Through the example of a collaborative film project between a social anthropologist and a group of African migrants in Switzerland, the workshop seeks to introduce media anthropological methods that help reveal and learn from the social mechanisms behind audio-visual forms of self-expression. By discussing the project and analysing several film sequences with the researcher, the participants will be encouraged to think about the social side of research and design methods as well as reflect upon their own projects.

Wednesday, 7. November 2018, 13:30–16:30
IF YOU WISH TO MAKE A MACBOOK PRO FROM SCRATCH, YOU MUST FIRST CREATE THE UNIVERSE by Pedro Moraes

In the mechanical age which by this point we already look at with hindsight, most of the actions that one could take were taken without much concern. Slow movements assured us that the consequences of these actions would take considerable amounts of time to manifest. Today, action and consequence are almost simultaneous. We live in the continuum of these actions, as we always did, but we think in the old way of fragmented time and space like it was before our current digital predicament. Our everyday objects in a certain sense are a manifestation of this disjunction. They come from elsewhere, completely removed from our local context, these objects are sculptures of finance and power, flying from China to the USA and from there to the four corners of the world like migrating birds. These objects swarm our perceptual and cognitive faculties in such a way that we cannot imagine our lives if not tied to their production circulation and deployment. With this lecture, I propose a way of framing these objects that goes beyond their designation as a design object. I proposed that these objects are thought about in terms of the entirety of their productive scale. A MacBook pro doesn’t begin it’s existence when bauxite is extracted and shipped to be purified into aluminium, whose plates are milled for the production of its sleek case, a MacBook Pro starts with the big bang, from the chemical processes that create the chemical elements necessary for its existence. This astronomical temporal scale is but a part of a diagram that imbricates astronomy, geology, logistics and politics. As we transfix these temporal strata we must ask ourselves, we, the users of these objects, are implied in this productive chain, what is our share of responsibility in this sprawling machinery.

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Design Research Methods Festival 2017

Monday, 6. November 2017, 9:30–12:30
THINKING THROUGH AUDIOVISUAL INQUIRY by Darcy Alexandra

Arts-based methods can offer innovative pathways for collaboration and critical engagement. For example, given the ethical and political complexity of research with vulnerable subjects facing precarious circumstances, there is a growing interest in methods that are more carefully grounded in their claims toward “participatory collaboration.” Audiovisual arts practices can make these efforts toward collaboration and exchange visible to analysis, and provide dynamic opportunities to learn from, and with, research subjects to better develop productive practices, effective questions and informed policies. Examples from diverse digital storytelling research will be shared as a means to think through the unique affordances and challenges of audiovisual inquiry.

Monday, 6. November 2017, 13:30–16:30
TRANSFORMATION, TRANSDISCIPLINARITY, TRANSITION – ABOUT THE NEW RESPONSIBILITY OF DESIGN by Daniela Peukert

Many terms currently describe a new responsible role of design. But what is meant by these concepts and how do they influence design practice? What requests are put on design and is it able to meet them at all? During the workshop, the concepts of transformation design, transdisciplinarity and transition design are presented, reflected and discussed from the perspectives of responsibility and sustainability. Some selected work serves as a basis for common understanding and to make the concepts accessible to the students and their projects. The workshop encourages the critical examination of the presented design-theoretical concepts within the current design discourse and helps the students to discuss and reflect them in the context of their own projects and to further develop a methodological framework.

Tuesday, 7. November 2017, 9:30–12:30
USER TESTING – IT‘S NO ROCKET SCIENCE! by Reto Lämmler

User Testing is one of the most effective research methods to understand how well an idea or product is understood by the target group. And the best of it, it‘s no rocket science. In the first part of my workshop, I will present different user testing methods and their pros and cons. I will cover qualitative and quantitative user testing methods. In the 2nd part, we will run a real user test. We pick a real example, write a test script, run a test with a real user and analyze the results. You will experience a user test from A-Z and learn the most important aspects of it. From writing an unbiased test script to moderating a test user without influencing the person, to analyzing the results without interpreting the wrong signals. I will also hand out teaching material which allows you to practice user testing on your own afterwards.

Tuesday, 7. November 2017, 13:30–16:30
CULTURAL PROBES AS A METHOD IN DESIGN RESEARCH by Beatrice Kaufmann

The lecture gives an introduction to what cultural probes are, how an by whom the method was developed an in what kind of projects they can be used. The advantages and disadvantages oft he method will be discussed. A concrete example shows how cultural probes were concepted, executed and evaluated in a current research project. The possibilities of adopting the method for one’s own project will be considered in small teams.

Wednesday, 8. November 2017, 9:30–12:30
DISMANTLING THE MASTER’S HOUSE: FEMINISM IN DESIGN INSTITUTIONS by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes

If design professions are to play a relevant role in future world-making, the disciplines must change. Yet architecture, for instance, a notoriously conservative discipline clings to traditional notions of mastery and individual creativity, maintaining hierarchical and patriarchal structures. During this workshop, I will present efforts to bring about change and awareness on gender and diversity at the Architecture Department of ETH Zurich. Together, we will discuss how design strategies can be beneficial to political engagement and processes of change, how design contributes to troublemaking in design institutions, how to establish an ecology of practices that transform design disciplines in a responsive, urgent, and sustainable fashion.

Wednesday, 8. November 2017, 13:30–16:30
ANARCHIST DESIGN ETHICS by Ruben Pater

Design is sometimes presented as a force that can fix the world‘s problems. But design cannot solve war, famine, or climate change, and assuming this is dangerous. However, designers can try to lessen the negative impact that design has on the world through new ethics. Ethics that not just point to the client or the law, but one’s own responsibility towards the world. Through a lecture, a workshop and a debate, we will discuss design ethics and the responsibilities of designers in philanthropic projects.

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Design Research Methods Festival 2016

Monday, 14. November 2016, 9:30–13:00
CRITICISM AS DESIGNMETHOD by Francisco Laranjo

This workshop proposes a series of visual exercises that seek to provide an awareness of the ideology, politics and power structures at work on a given design project. By problematising the current social, political and cultural context of the European Union, this workshop offers a contested space for reflection and criticism during the design process.

Monday, 14. November 2016, 14:00–17:30
ZUKÜNFTE GESTALTEN by Michaela Büsse

Das sogenannte Spekulative Design ist noch vergleichsweise jung, stösst aber auf immer grösseres Interesse, insbesondere im Kontext der Innovationsentwicklung. Wie genau grenzt sich Spekulatives Design von «normalem» Design ab und welche Rolle nimmt es in- und ausserhalb der Disziplin ein? Der Workshop soll grundlegende Einblicke in die Designströmung und deren Einsatzfelder geben. Nach einer theoretischen Einführung werden per Rapid Prototyping erste eigene Entwürfe entwickelt.

Monday, 14. November 2016, 18:30–22:00
CREATE EVIDENCY by Jean Odermatt

“Understanding a problem is a fundamental step to try to reduce it.“ Jorge Frascara; he is a recognized leader in visual communication design, and his practice now concentrates on information design for the health sector. In this workshop, we learn how we create evidence by listening, participant observation, identification of the context, research, analyze, discussion. Evidence (lat. evidentia ‚Einsichtigkeit’) stands for: Evidenz, unmittelbare, mit besonderem Wahrheitsanspruch (unbezweifelbare) auftretende Einsicht. The workshop will address the following issues: Case studies: Hospital: salutogenesis: the creation of spaces as an inherent element of the healing process. Exhibition: How can we transform a traditional method of presentation into a future and reliable format. Creation of an event: How can we keep events rememberable.

Tuesday, 15. November 2016, 9:30–13:00
DESIGN IS COMMUNICATION by Bernhard E. Bürdek

The development of Design goes back 2000 years, when the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio – named Vitruv – wrote, that buildings have to fulfil three categories:

— the utility (utilitas)
— the stability (firmitas)
— and the beauty (venustas).

The seminar will show how these categories – which are also applicable to Design – have changed their prioritization, especially in the transition from 20th to the 21st century. The main topic is now: “From Function to Meaning”. Product language and Product Semantics are becoming more and more a special value for all design disciplines.

Tuesday, 15. November 2016, 14:00–17:30
SAMPLING THE PAST – UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT by Ueli Kaufmann

Textschriften müssen in erster Linie lesbar sein. Formen und Satzbild sind deshalb stark an Vergangenes gebunden. An Beispielen – von den Anfängen der Druckschrift bis heute – wird gezeigt, dass dieses Geschichtsbewusstsein nicht nur einschränkt, sondern durch die Methode des Samplings auch Potential für die Gestaltung neuer Schriften bieten kann. Im Workshop interpretieren, sezieren und vermengen die Teilnehmer in Handarbeit Vorbilder aus verschiedenen Epochen und kreieren Ideen für eigene Schriften.

Tuesday, 15. November 2016, 18:30–22:00
DISPLAYING DESIGN ISN’T ONLY COMMUNICATING DESIGN by Matylda Krzykowski

In terms of presentation, the curator faces four options. Number one: using existing displays. Number two: making a new display, which means – number three – designing seduction or – number four – creating an illusion. The curator makes a choice. And by making this choice she or he interprets what is on display and is offering ways of interpretation to the viewers. When design is displayed the presentation often just perpetuates a common consensus of what design was, is and should be. But a display can also have a different agenda that doesn’t necessarily connect to what is expected and already known by the viewers. It can rather create confusion that will demand from the viewer to reflect on what he or she is looking at. Which method of display is appropriate to create a productive confusion? How and with which outcome can the viewer be able to read the display?

Design Research Methods Festival 2015

Monday, 9. November 2015, 9:30–13:00
RESEARCH THROUGH DESIGN by Jonas Berthod

Monday, 9. November 2015, 14:00–17:30
DESIGN-DRIVEN INNOVATION by Claus Noppeney

Tuesday, 10. November 2015, 9:30–13:00
VISUAL RHETORIC by Annina Schneller and Simon Küffer

Tuesday, 10. November 2015, 14:00–17:30
VISUAL ANALYSIS by Christine Zimmermann

Wednesday, 11. November 2015, 9:30–13:00
RE-ENACTMENT AS METHOD by Davide Fornari and Serena Cangiano

Wednesday, 11. November 2015, 14:00–17:30
DISCOURSE ANALYSIS – TEXTUAL, VISUAL, RELATIONAL by Robert Lzicar

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