The Walkshops

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Many of the routines and standard practices of academic life do little to actively explore and experiment with the structure of working environments, spaces and relationships thus the social and ethical aspects of modern science. They do even less to address the importance of contextual and embodied dimensions of thinking (…) Through walkshops, we have spent several days walking together with our colleagues and students in open outdoor spaces, keeping a sustained intellectual discussion on ethical aspects of science, technology and innovation while moving through these landscapes (…) The value of both using the outdoors and walking as a way to stimulate reflective thinking have been appreciated and documented in various fields: Aristotle/Rousseau/ Heidegger/Human Geographers/ etc (…) What the move from the indoors to the outdoors or from the campus to the mountains offers for us is rather an altered nature/culture dynamic, different materialities, and a change in degree, going from a relatively static, controlled, secure environment to a more varied, dynamic and challenging terrain (…) More concretely, the value that we have experienced using this approach includes: the ability to use the materiality of a landscape as a tool for facilitating reflection, the capacity to productively alter social dynamics through enabling embodied encounters and challenging existing hierarchies, and the power to alter established patterns of thought through the combination of unmediated outdoor experiences with different social dynamics.

 

References

Fern Wickson, Roger Strand, Kamilla Lein Kjolberg, 2015. The Walkshop Approach to Science and Technology Ethics. In Sci Eng Ethics (2015) 21:241–264, DOI 10.1007/s11948-014-9526-z

Image taken form the walkshop implemented in June 2016 for NTUA postgraduate course ‘Methodological Tools of Analysis for Creating Strategies of Integral Urban Interventions’ in collaboration to the Urban Emptiness Network.

Kester Rattenbury on the RMIT model

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Leon van Schaik became head of Architecture of RMIT in 1986 (…) he found a city with a group of excellent architects, well-respected by their peers, with a strong body of work but little sense as to how to articulate what was particular about it – and with almost no international recognition (…) Van Schaik invited them to ‘surface the evidence about their already established mastery’: to find, articulate, test and improve the design propositions they were making by actually designing. The remarkable local architectural scene, in which van Schaik became active on many fronts, is thus partly an academic outcome of a brilliant ongoing academic design research endeavor(…) The RMIT model is an astonishing success. Around 15 years ago, van Schaik developed the Masters course into a PhD by Practice: a program which now has 150 students enrolled between academic hubs in Australia, South-East Asia and Europe – one of the biggest architecture PhD programs anywhere (…) Students on this program have to be established designers, with a proven track record and a body of recognized work within which they uncover and develop a doctoral thesis. They must articulate their particular way of working and identify their referents – the people, buildings and environmental experiences they are drawing on – to establish their equivalent of a methodology and literature search. They have to extract and analyse their own tactics – the way they draw things, work with clients, interact, whatever they do to generate a design: to identify the working thesis, if you like, in their work. (bold-italics are mine)

 

References

Kester Rattenbury, 2015. Revealing Secrets. In the Architectural Review ‘The education Issue’. Full article available here

More on RMIT’s program in Europe here

AGIL

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The AGIL system is considered a cybernetic hierarchy. It is a ‘general analytic model suitable for analyzing all types of collectivities’. It represents the four basic functions that all social systems must perform if they are to persist. It was one of the first open systems theories of organizations.

  • A: from adaptation or the capacity of society to interact with the environment. This includes, among other things, gathering resources and producing commodities to social redistribution. cognitive symbolization
  • G: from goal attainment or the capability to set goals for the future and make decisions accordingly. Political resolutions and societal objectives are part of this necessity. expressive symbolization
  • I: from integration, or the harmonization of the entire society is a demand that the values and norms of society are solid and sufficiently convergent. This requires, for example, the religious system to be fairly consistent, and even in a more basic level, a common language. moral evaluative symbolization
  • L: from latency, or latent pattern maintenance, challenges society to maintain the integrative elements of the integration requirement above. This means institutions like family and school, which mediate belief systems and values between an older generation and its successor. constitutive symbolization

 

References

AGIL paradigm and Parson’s Social System

Image available here

 

ADAPT-r

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ADAPT-r is an ITN network that aims to develop new knowledge and understanding of Creative Practice Research (CPR) thus design thinking, public behavior, as well as the emergence of new methods oriented towards the explication of tacit knowledge. It comprises of 33 early stage researchers all creative practitioners and PhD candidates, 7 experienced researchers and 7 institutional partners. Research was conducted in the form of 9 paired interviews.

WORK PACKAGE 01_Primary Research: it follows the logic of the referential focuses of creative practice research training;

  • case studies: these are the venturous practices of the creative practitioners
  • community of practice: the communities that contextualize these case studies
  • transformative triggers: what shifts and transforms their creative practice and how it is related to social contexts; triggers uncover the challenges and the challengers of creativity the practitioners are not aware of; the revisiting, sorting and mapping past work triggers changing understandings; they are the markers of knowledge creation and recognition of development and change in the creative research practice; when things fall into place; Embracing Uncertainty: The space of not knowing; Other ways of knowing: intuition, hunch, feeling and bodily knowledge; they are not immediate insights but rather a means of opening up
  • public behaviors: it means that the practitioner positions himself/herself in his/her communities of practice/relevance; they point to navigating contexts; it is an interaction ritual
  • explicating tacit knowledge,
  • explication of methods

Methodology Analysis: Wording/Metaphoring/Anecdoting/ Diagramming*/ Choosing/ Playing/ Manifesting/ Structuring

Interesting findings on knowledge creation and creativity. 

(…) by thinking about knowledge as socially constructed, something that operates in networks, in relationships between actors, it becomes clear that there is no singular thing that amounts to knowing, instead, there are multiple knowledges. Knowledge represents multiple considerations about creativity. creativity can be a new idea, imagination and/or innovation; it too is multiple. As such it can be thought of as a responsive and relational, not classic and timeless.

There are three types of knowledge. There is input knowledge: the knowing before action. There is output knowledge: the knowing after action. There is relational knowledge: the knowing in action (communities of practice) developed relationally through interaction and collaboration

In order for innovation to be innovative it must be recognized as such by the creative practice researcher’s community of practice (…) the outputs of creative practice go beyond any objects of practice(…) doing creative practice is not the same as doing creative practice research; the practice needs to be framed differently

 

References

J. Verbeke, K. Heron, T. Zupancic, Relational Knowledge and Creative Practice, 2017, A publication by ADAPT-r (eds Tadeja Zupancic, Claus Peder Pedersen), ISBN 9789082510850, available here

ADAPT-r official webpage

*Diagrams as a research tool, Annotated, Different Aesthetics, Handmade, Collage, Landscape-like, as tools to discover or represent, as texts, to measure and visualize the projects, spider diagrams, time diagrams, architectonic diagrams, research space diagrams

CDCI or College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation

A college with an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

CDCI programs will include opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to engage in activities that explore the connections between discovery research, creativity in all forms, and the elements of innovation. The foundation of the undergraduate learning experiences is inquiry-based, interdisciplinary courses focused on Global Challenges involving students who will be immersed in authentic, interdisciplinary inquiry experiences where teaching, learning and research are deeply integrated.

References

College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation Webpage

From design to cybernetics

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Scientific Research is a restricted form of design. Design is thus not necessarily scientific.

Design: is central to the act of design is circularity (…) it is a conversation often involving a paper and a pencil with an other; ourselves or someone else (…) a distinguished element of design is novelty (…) scientific research is a design activity (..) we design our experiences and objects by finding commonalities (simplification) we design how we assemble them into patterns (…) looking at these patterns we make further patterns, thus in doing science, we learn (…) design is the object of study and as a means we carry out this study (…) scientific  research should be judged by design criteria, not the other way around (…) rigorous, honesty, clarification, testing and the relative strength of argument over assertion are essential qualities of design

The role of the observer as participant: making knowledge, abstracting it to theory, theorising about theory, constructing the way we obtain this knowledge, all is done by the actor (…) at every step it is the actor designing (…) the designer is central to science

The nature of these circular systems are examined in cybernetics. According to Norbert Wiener,  cybernetics is the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine, whereas currently it is used as in ‘control of any system using technology’. In Glanville’s terms:

cybernetics has elucidated conversation, creativity and the invention of the new; multiple points and their implications for their objects of attention; self-generation and ‘the emergence’ of stability; post-rationalization; representation and experience; constructivism; and distinction drawing and the theory of boundaries

 

References

Ranulph Glanville, Researching Design and Designing Research. In Design Issues Vol. 15, No. 2, Design Research (Summer, 1999), pp. 80-91, available here

Image available here

The circular relationship of experiment and theory

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  • Theory from experiment: it involves pattern finding (…) it is the making of a concept from many distinct perceptions (…) it formalises the significance and necessity of pattern (…) theories are patterns with widespread credence and accepted as accounting for a part of our experience (…)  we simplify to make our continuum of our experience de-finite (…) if we did not simplify we wouldn’t be able to recognise nor generalise (..) this allows us to make predictions as a means of extending the range of our observations
  • Theory from theory: it is the examination of concepts to clarify these concepts further (…) science depends not only on theory based on collecting and organising of empirical evidence but also on theory based on the consequences of that evidence (…) theory on theory is us acting self-referentially by using the devices of simplification and pattern finding (…) our understandings help us develop our understandings but also restrict them (…) when we find contradictions we modify or reject this understanding; this cyclical process is a design  process (…) the continuous modification and the inclusion of more and more in a coherent whole (…) one form of theory in theory is criticism

 

References

Ranulph Glanville, Researching Design and Designing Research. In Design Issues Vol. 15, No. 2, Design Research (Summer, 1999), pp. 80-91

Image available here