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MIRIAD SYMPOSIUM, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester

24-25 June 2004 - "Making Knowledge? The relationship between practice and research in craft and design"

The first session began with David Durlings' view of the sometimes confused states of PhDs' nowadays. He hinted that some parts of it may be about understanding how one was doing what one was doing. Some confused research with investigative practice. Among others it should be about: creating a theory, communication of knowledge, asking questions and framing questions, collecting & analysing data, going public with research and maintaining an enduring record. Research was about the improvement of making - not only about making. He also noted that many researchers hardly had any knowledge about "users". Furthermore research wasn't about a burning desire, a personal journey or earning a living. He hinted to the DRS Website and the PAR Website (Practice as Research / results of publications)

He also indicated that design methods shouldn't be confused with research methods and that there were different ideas about rigour. Research must articulate the question, the methods, the findings, the limits.

David also mentionend the website He had asked them of their process of peer review of taking projects into their directory. They replied that they where simply going by instinct. He judged that many PhDs weren't published and that also many were weak - and that peer review was the key against this process. Many didn't have investigated their context, had no methods, no findings - and no evidence, just opinion.

Michael Biggs, formerly at the Art & Humanities Research Board (AHRB) also insisted that research only could have an impact if it was diseminated - on the other hand he also acclaimed a certain problem with communicating experiential content as, for example, tacit knowledge, deftness. Questions about experience arise out of the content. What is an experience? 1. feeling 2. content
Experiential content is about representation. We reflect upon the content of an experience. It had a sensory and a cognitive dimension. The experience (senory) is pointing to its content.

Research should be unambiguous. Representation is a benefit, as we take a step back from the experiential content. (feelings in research?) Then it is about CONTENT not feelings. Knowing how - and knowing that. Polanyi: "We can now more than we can tell" like juggling. > pre-linguistic bodily experience a) implicit knowledge b) tacit knowledge c) ineffable knowledge (feelings)

An ontology of practice based research?
Answering questions - analyse questions
Technique - what response will be satisfying?
Contrast: What are the boundaries?
There are many questions, not all have answers.
Some may have many answers.
How many people are satisfied with the answer?

There is no truth but only a relative coherence.
In arts we work with Epistemes (Foucault).
Multiple answers are interesting here.
Solution: Understanding language to understand the question.
Different answers to a question can be satisfying.
What is the audience?

There is no method for everyone, there has to be appropriateness.
How should we determine which method is appropriate?

David Durling liked the idea that in the US there seems to be something like a norm for the structure of any PhD. You look at the thing and you know where everything is. Why not?

How can we do meaningful, doable, consequential research framing fully the right questions.

Kristina Niederer: Designing the performative object. > exploring social interaction, using practice.

"Function as Plan for action." (Pierce? C.S.?)
Disruption of actions creates mindfulness. > creativity

A broken glass makes mindful.
A glass with 5 holes to cover with fingers makes mindful.

1. interaction
2. function
3. mindfulness

So what are performative objects? What are the consequences designing them?
Method: Naming and classifying: nature
probability of existence
conceptual and comparative analysis
analysis: theory and practice

The difference between a ritual and the performative object? Context. There is are different awareness.
So an objects exists as a mindful objects as well as within a mindful interaction.

Hilary Carlisle had a beautiful example of a textile with a pattern that was randomly generated and one that was perfectly symmetrical. The random one could at first hardly be recognised, but it had a much more "natural feel" about it.

During Jane Harris' presentation i completely forgot to take notes. Jane is as usual clear, concise and and light at the same time. Great, as usual.

last update: 8/11/02013 22:26

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