The importance of practising design for design educators and researchers


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The Design Society

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This paper presents a design ‘practitioner’ in dialogue with a design ‘theorist’ about the importance of practising design for design educators and design researchers. The use of dialogue as a research method was inspired by dialogue seminars at the Swedish Centre for Working Life. The ‘practitioner’ in this paper is primarily a fashion-design teacher with a background in the design and dressmaking profession, while the ‘theorist’ teaches specialised design and art and crafts teacher training and researches vernacular design. Designers and craftsmen continuously make intuitive assessments; this kind of knowledge is difficult to formalise, although the ‘practitioner’ transmits this knowledge to her design students while they view samples and practise their craft. Although reflections and choices may differ, generally speaking, the greater a designer’s or artisan’s experience and repertoire, the deeper his or her reflection. The ‘theorist’ uses her experiences of designing, knitting and sewing as inside knowledge in her investigation of how vernacular designers practise and learn to design and make vernacular clothing. This kind of knowledge is often based on tacit knowledge. Both the practitioner and the theorist see their own experiences as designers and makers as being crucial for their design teaching and design research. In line with reading- and writing-based research, design-education institutions should give their academic staff time and opportunities to practice design as a part of their profession in order to achieve best practice in design education as well as research in design/design education.




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