Zupančič / Reformulating Design and Artistic Practice-driven Research to Reach Out

Reformulating Design and Artistic Practice-driven Research to Reach Out

Author: Tadeja Zupančič, prof., University of Ljubljana

Category: Individual position statement

During the previous CA2RE+ events, some key relevance-related question were formulated: What belongs to design/artistic practice-driven research? Or: What is relevant for design/artistic practice-driven research? And perhaps: Is what is relevant for design/artistic practice-driven research still design/artistic practice-driven research or something else?

The CA2RE/CA2RE+ Ljubljana aims to focus even more on the hybrid core(-s) of design/artistic practice-driven research. On the other hand, it aims to reach out with the findings of and from within that 'core'. While the user-oriented researchers (architects, landscape architects, urban designers, industrial designers...) are used to share the practical level of their findings with their users, their research (meta-level knowledge) often stays in the ivory tower of the research community involved in the discussions. The research language of other artistic researchers focused on their creative world (painters, visual artists...), can be even more cryptic for the people outside 'their world'. To reach out, the CA2RE community needs to reformulate the question of what belongs to design/artistic practice-driven research into Where design/artistic practice-driven research belongs to – and how. Where is it relevant? How to achieve that relevance?

The LJUBLJANA CA2RE/CA2RE+ event thus addresses the topic REFORMULATION. 1 'The event builds on the topics: OBSERVATION, SHARING, COMPARISON, and REFLECTION explored at previous CA2RE+ events. It represents a first step in building an extended DDr FRAMEWORK.' The event aims at the reformulation of the idea of the design/artistic practice driven (doctoral) evaluation training as an event and process. It translates and expands 'the DDr STRATEGIES and EVALUATION processes to increase their relevance to related disciplines that have previously informed DDr. This step redefines the experiential DDr knowledge explication through performances and discussions with the broadest possible audience. It aims to identify the boundaries of DDr's relevance: when is the approach specific enough to be engaging and generic enough' to be transferrable, or, in the case of intersubjective knowledge transfer, clear and explicit enough to enable immersion?

'The event raises the question of what the CA2RE community needs to reformulate to strengthen DDr: How can we qualify the different levels of observations and reflections on the research to evaluate the quality of DDr? How can we address general research criteria of relevance, rigour and originality in ways that make them stimulating for researchers and strengthen the intersubjectivity of DDr? How can we improve our understanding of the processes of ongoing DDr? How can design questions be directed into research questions and aims, and how do we assess the research relevance of these questions and aims? How can relational and situational design activities become relevant research contributions outside their specific context, and how does this become relevant for other research approaches? How can individual researchers approach their research to make it accessible for new panellists? How can we translate the common ground and shared understandings that are developed through DDr to new audiences? To rephrase, redraw, reconstitute, retransform, reconstruct, regenerate... are all actions described during the last CA2RE/CA2RE+ event in Hamburg. What do they reformulate, why, how and when? 'The CA2RE/CA2RE+ Ljubljana discussion engages in these types of questions.

To discuss the potential relevance and impact of design/artistic practice-driven research we can adapt the research impact diagram, prepared by the EAAE Research Academy.

Research Impact Diagram (by EAAE: European Association of Architectural Education – Research Academy) 2

Figure 1: Research Impact Diagram (by EAAE: European Association of Architectural Education – Research Academy) 2

What are the areas of relevance and (potential) impact on/in – the areas, defined by scale (local, regional, national and global)? What are the audiences addressed (individuals, groups, institutions)? And what are the timeframes we have in mind? What are the strategies to address the timeframes discussed? During the previous conferences, I observed a shift from long-term impact identification towards impact-while-thinking and acting awareness. The trigger of that shift was the questionnaire about the impact of the event on participants.

What is the nature of relevance and potential impact of design/artistic practice-driven research in terms of accessibility, engagement and effectiveness? How do we know what research is accessible (when and to whom), engaging, who is engaged and how, how effective are we as researchers, trying to engage 'others'?

Concerning the areas and the nature of relevance/impact (potential), appropriate evidencing needs to be chosen. What are the referential bodies of evidence and 'measurement' types? Not only publications (and their 'impact factors') and funding, but also practice recognition (awarded projects and artefacts, impact on other projects proved), public presentation (influences traced), community engagement (before-during-after project action monitoring) and curation (curatorial impact, teaching impact, management impact traced...) need to be taken into account.

  1. CA2RE/CA2RE+ LJUBLJANA Theme: Reformulation (2021): https://ca2re.fa.uni-lj.si/ref...; from June 30, 2021.
  2. EAAE European Association of Architectural Education – Research Academy –(2019): Research Impact Diagram, Zagreb RA Workshop document, https://www.eaae.be/event/zagr... from June 30, 2021.