Alec Robertson MA(RCA), MCSD, FRSA
Organiser : Designing Design Research 2,
School of Design and Manufacture,
De Montfort University,
Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK.
Alec Robertson is a Council member of the Design Research Society and he is Chair of the Research Committee of the School of Design & Manufacture at De Montfort University. Alec is a member of the supervision team for postgraduate students on the MA Design & Manufacture programme and at PhD level, as well as at BA level on the BA Multimedia Design Course. Previous appointments include tutor on the Design Management Course at the Royal College of Art, London, and the BA Product Design course, University of Ulster at Belfast.
His professional experience has been focused on 'innovation research, industrial and information design', including work for government research bodies, such as the Transport Research Laboratory (UK), the Building Research Establishment (UK), and the UK Design Council.
His interests focus on conceptual modelling for design forecasting, multimedia product development, design & environment issues, and pioneering work on 4D Design. Alec has organised several conferences and events as Events Secretary of the Design Research Society. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a member of the Chartered Society of Designers (MCSD) and the Information Design Association.
"If design research is to establish itself so practitioners respect what is done in the name of 'design' then more dialogue between researchers and practitioners is needed."
"There are new types of designs that require the attention of design research, and these present problems for publication. New dynamic media may well be the answer for these as well as traditional journals."
We had an event about the pros and cons of 'research groups' and 'individual research', and the idea for Designing Design Research 2 resulted from a discussion with Dr Tom Cassidy, Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Design & Manufacture at De Montfort University. It was felt timely to discuss the issue of what kind of 'research publications' should be given attention in the next few years in the School. I suggested this would make a good event to do in conjunction with the Design Research Society, being Events Secretary of the DRS at the time.
The interest has been substantial with requests from overseas for proceedings - hence the www site and this indicates that there is some disquiet about the current state of affairs worldwide.
I invited a few of the 'movers and shakers' in 'design research' to Leicester.
Firstly Dr Tom Cassidy, who was given a remit to clarify design research at De Montfort University as a large Faculty of Art & Design had just been formed from separate Schools. This Faculty incorporates 'design and manufacture', 'applied arts and design', fine art, architecture and more. Tom provided a broad introduction to the perspective being taken (so far) at De Montfort University!!
Then, Professor Nigel Cross, Editor of the highly respected DESIGN STUDIES JOURNAL outlined perhaps what could be described as the 'establishment view' (but with a human face), of one end of the spectrum of design research, which is sometimes referred to as 'research into design'. Cross was followed by Professor Martin Woolley, a panel member of the Art & Design Category for the UK University Research Assessment Exercise, who provided an 'establishment' view of what is worth a good grade from a panel comprising artists and designers.
Professor James Woudhuysen gave a lively visual presentation on what matters, and should matter, in research for industry and design practices. This provided a pragmatic industry perspective. He was followed in the afternoon by Professor Jeremy Myerson, who stressed the point that a design research outcome, to be valuable, has to be made accessible to those who can apply its conclusions.
Dr Ranulph Glanville, who has a couple of PhD's, provided a provocative view that design research has moved on, and it is time for design community to find its own way that acknowledges the particular qualities and capabilities of 'designing'.
discussion after the above speakers highlighted a variety of issues
and concerns. The audience
was an excellent sample of the UK design community from far ends of the
design research spectrum, such as Cambridge
University (Engineering design), the Royal College of Art, mainstream
interior designers and craft and one or two from places such as British
Telecom Research labs.
Please use the following to cite material from Design Design Research 2.
Author(s), "Title of Paper", in Designing Design Research 2:The Design
Research Publication, Cyberbridge-4D Design
at /drs2.html, Editor- Alec
Robertson, De Montfort University, Leicester. 26 February 1998.
Click for Cyberbridge-4D Design