Notes from the last seminar

The following simple notes are from the last seminar in the School of Design Research where Richard Banks from Microsoft Research Cambridge presented.

1. Unexpectedly, there seem to be quite fewer researchers with design background compared to those from social sciences or engineering. Design PhDs are much rarer. There are some of the graduates from IDE Masters in Microsoft Research where they are expected to take a designerly approach to research. 

2. While they present the outcomes at CHI, there is a tendency for the conference to focus on technological and methodological aspects.  There is a certain limitation to the discussion around the design process i.e. about the artefacts emerged in research, why they were made, etc. RTD (Research Through Design) conference has a more suitable environment for design research where both a presentation and an exhibition take place.

3. There is still an inconsistency in Design PhD in terms of, for example, the criteria they are judged on. Compared to areas where repeatability is guaranteed to some extent such as natural science and engineering, the value and the insight of design research lie in the chaotic, ambiguous, and nonlinear process. This is related to the interview of Dr. Christopher Frayling, the former Rector of RCA, by RTD 2015.