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Design as Inquiry

February 19, 2015
6:00-8:00pm CST
IIT Institute of Design, 6th floor
350 N LaSalle St
Chicago, IL 60654

How does the making and presenting of artworks and designs as research (e.g., critical design, research through design, and constructive design) contribute to human knowledge and understanding? This question and others like it have received considerable attention recently in fields as diverse as museum studies, philosophy, literature, art, design, science and technology studies, film, and human-computer interaction and which ask:

  • Can a product, film, exhibition, or robot serve as a medium for original scientific or philosophical thought, or can it only illustrate thoughts already developed in science and philosophy?

  • What can anyone possibly learn from fictional characters and situations since they aren’t even real?

  • If science and philosophy already give us knowledge, why even bother with the arts?

  • Can the arts give rise to distinctive understandings, which cannot be obtained as well (or at all) through science or philosophy?

Jeffrey Bardzell will work through a number of the most interesting responses to these questions he has explored, using artworks and designs themselves as objects to think with. In arguing that the arts do indeed serve a crucial role in knowledge production, Jeffrey will pick out some of the things we consider to be examples of “knowledge,” including propositional knowledge, aesthetic perceptiveness, constructive search through themes and variations, and knowledge as acknowledgment. He'll reflect on how understandings place claims on us by changing how we think about problems and situations and also by demanding new responses from us.

About Jeffrey

Jeffrey Bardzell is an associate professor of HCI/design in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University - Bloomington. His research examines both design theory and emerging IT use practices to understand how HCI/design might better support human and nonhuman life. His work on design theory has focused on critical design, research through design, and design criticism. His research on emerging IT use practices includes critical-empirical studies on maker communities in the United States and Asia, intimate and sexual interaction, and online creative communities. A common thread throughout this work is the use of aesthetics—including the history of criticism, critical theory, and analytic aesthetics—guiding both the development of theory as well as the analysis of user experience data.

Jeffrey Bardzell will speak as part of "In the Loop", a lecture series on design, innovation and entrepreneurship organized by IIT Institute of Design faculty. The series engages a wide range of speakers that present on topics ranging from theoretical research and emerging methodologies that are relevant to the field of design as well as personal narratives and examples from current design practice.