I had the pleasure last month to present a paper at the Design Research Society Conference in Umea in Sweden. Full papers were double blind reviewed prior to acceptance and so I had high hopes that the event would be of excellent quality and that I would be able to do mine justice. With beer at £8 a pint I was at least confident that a hangover wouldn’t get in the way. It was a little odd that my supervisor’s other paper hadn’t been accepted.
Sweden is according to the Stranglers the land of interesting skies. The skies didn’t disappoint. Papers at the conference did however vary. I saw a presentation that seemed to be a remake of Bucciarelli’s Designing Engineers (but without the humour or conceptual integrity) and another that was a sales pitch for a piece of hardware that could store lots of photographs for you. And these were in my session. I couldn’t help thinking that my paper had been stuck into a funny shaped hole between those two that nothing else would fit. Anyway, my paper was well received and the comments I received from two of the luminaries who took the trouble to come along were very welcome. My next post is a follow up to their input.
This post, aside from my misgivings about the conference reviewing process (which I’ve been assured will be more rigorous and sensible in 2016), is really more of a short observation on the scope of what constitutes design research these days. It’s anthropology, it’s cognitive psychology. It’s performance art and creative cookery. It’s historical. It’s social. It’s speculative and it’s critical. It’s political. It’s not political enough. It’s over.