Experiential Knowledge Special Interest Group

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Keynote Speakers

Speaker 1: Prof Lene Tanggaard Pedersen, Aalborg University, Denmark

The socio-materiality of Creativity

Abstract: This keynote takes its point of departure in an investigation of the potentials of looking at creativity from a socio-material analytical point of view. A socio-material perspective underlines that creativity is much more social and everyday like than has hitherto been acknowledged; materiality and arte-facts are to be seen as substantial components of creativity in itself (Tanggaard, 2013). In relation to current research on creativity within psychology and beyond, this is a rare point. It is still very common to state that “creativity is assumed to be present within every individual, although geniuses are rare” (Zeng, Proctor & Salvendy, 2011, p. 25). The source of creativity is time and again seen as residing within individuals. Furthermore, the result of creativity is often celebrated as a more or less individual achievement and creativity is still closely aligned with the exceptional and the genius (McDermott, 2006). As recently stated by Moghaddam, much psychological science, and I would claim psychological research on creativity, suffers from the ‘embryonic fallacy’ meaning that the independent individual is seen as the source and center of psychological experience (Moghaddam, 2010). This presentation aims at developing the socio-material perspective in more detail, which requires that theoretical elaborations and empirical studies go hand in hand. Examples from a recent study of a designer’s work will be presented as part of the keynote.

Lene Tanggaard is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Commu
nication and Psychology at the University of Aalborg, Denmark, where she serves as co-director of The International Centre for the Cultural Psychology of Creativity (ICCPC), and co-director of the Center for Qualitative Studies. She has published several books and papers in the field of creativity and learning. Recent publications include Tanggaard, L. & Stadil, C. (2014). Showering with Picasso – how to spark your creativity and imagination. London: LIU Publishing and Tanggaard, L. (2014). Fooling around: Creative learning pathways. Charlotte: Information Age Publishers. E-mail: lenet@hum.aau.dk

Speaker 2: Dr Elvin Karana, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Design For Material Experiences

Abstract: Materials research constantly evolves to offer novel, superior materials as ‘better’ alternatives to convention (e.g. bio-based plastics, piezoelectric textiles, temperature sensitive polymers, advanced ceramics). As a priority, the pursuit of ‘better’ in newly developed materials should make sense from the perspective of bringing a utilitarian and environmental advantage. Yet, when embodied in daily products, a new material also brings the possibility of new sensations, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In search of a proper application through such an understanding, designers may arrive at an embodiment that as far as possible not only meets the practical demands of the design but also offers intangible sparks (Karana, Pedgley, & Rognoli, 2015) that captivate people’s appreciation and affect the ultimate experience of a product in and beyond its utilitarian assessment. I propose that designing with emerging materials through the lens of ‘materials experience’ is a powerful strategy to introduce those materials to societies through applications that make sense and give sense, and hence possibly shorten the gestation time of a materials innovation. However, this is far from straightforward. The potential experiences of the unfamiliar, the unusual and the rare emerging materials are often challenging to envision and to design for. In my presentation, I will introduce a method we have recently developed to facilitate ‘designing for material experiences’ when a particular material is the point of departure in the design process. I will illustrate how the method is applied in practice through a number of material driven design cases conducted within our research group over the last couple of years.

Elvin Karana is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) at Delft University of Technology (DUT), The Netherlands. She undertook her PhD research at DUT, where she developed a ‘Meaning Driven Materials Selection Tool’ to support designers in their materials selection activities. Since then, she has been leading a number of research projects focusing on design for material experiences. In her work, she proved the notion of ‘materials experience’ to be actionable in design thinking and applicable to both in design practice and design research. Elvin is the main editor of “Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design” (2014, Elsevier).

Speaker 3: Prof Carole Collet, University of the Arts, London, UK

Harvested and Grown: the rise of a new bio-materiality

Abstract: We are in the midst of a transition from the industrial revolution to a biological revolution and this will have a great impact on what and how we design in the future. Not only we can acknowledge the advantage of biological systems in terms of zero waste, minimum use of energy and materials, but with synthetic biology, we can now ‘biofabricate’ like Nature does. Leather grown in a lab, yeast reprogrammed to produce silk, bacteria that grow a shoe, are but a few examples of current biotechnological breakthroughs. This keynote will map out the current landscape of biodesign and examine the rise of this new bio-materiality and its implication on design research. From botanical experiments to synthetic biology propositions, this paper will present a series of design case studies that question the notion of ‘knowledge making’ in the context of working with living systems. What becomes of the design process when working with living materials? If we can turn a yeast into a living factory, what language will designers need to learn? Could the intersection of design and biology lead to novel sustainable fabrication processes? What are the ethical implications of biofabrication?

Carole Collet is Professor of Design for Sustainable Futures and Director of the Design & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, UK. She has dedicated her career to develop a new vision for design, and pioneered the discipline of Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins fifteen years ago. She is now a full time Professor and her current research work is focused on biodesign, biofacturing and high-tech sustainability. Collet operates within a long-term framework and her research targets the year 2050 and beyond.


experiential knowledge through materials

International Conference 2015 of the DRS Special Interest Group      on Experiential Knowledge at Design School Kolding and University of Southern Denmark

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