The Production of Knowledge in Art and Design

11:00 am, Friday, November 2, 2012
With Joanna Berzowska, Anne Burdick and Lisa Grocott; moderated by Laurene Vaughan.

The fields and practices of art and design research represent a distinct array of alternative and critical approaches to the production of knowledge. Such contextualist, experimental, and practice-based traditions have profound implications for research in other fields. Moving beyond the foundational question of how knowledge might be produced in art and design this panel is framed by an exploration of how we might account for the contribution the research we undertake produces.

The projects presented seek to collectively make visible the ways the speculative, action-oriented and material practices make a contribution to the scholarship of art and design while also complementing and amplifying the research of other disciplines. From this perspective the discussion will consider: What are the affordances presented by the forms and methods of art and design research? How do they build on, or distinguish themselves from, the practices and values of other fields? How might this these insights help to advance research into art and design as well as our interdisciplinary collaborations?

Joanna Berzowska is an Associate Professor and Chair of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University, as well as a member of the Hexagram Research Institute in Montreal. She is the founder and research director of XS Labs, where her team develops innovative methods and applications in electronic textiles and responsive garments. A core component of her work involves the development of enabling methods, materials, and technologies – in the form of soft electronic circuits and composite fibers – as well as the exploration of the expressive potential of soft reactive structures. Her art and design work has been shown in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in NYC, Electronica Center in Linz among others.

Anne Burdick is Chair of the Media Design Graduate Program, Art Center College of Design, and is a regular participant in the international dialogue regarding the future of graduate education and research in design. In addition, she designs experimental text projects in diverse media, for which she has garnered recognition, from the prestigious Leipzig Award for book design to I.D. Magazine’s Interactive Design Review for her work with interactive texts. She has designed books of literary/media criticism by authors such as Marshall McLuhan and N. Katherine Hayles and is currently developing electronic corpora with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Anne’s writing and design can be found in the Los Angeles Times, Eye Magazine and Electronic Book Review, among others, and her work is held in the permanent collections of both SFMOMA and MoMA. She studied graphic design at both Art Center College of Design and San Diego State University prior to receiving a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in graphic design at California Institute of the Arts.

Lisa Grocott is an associate professor at Parsons where her teaching and research are framed by her interest in designing as a research methodology. Lisa’s current teaching builds on the work of her PhD in design research where she teaches graduate students in the MFA Transdisciplinary Design and the MFA in Design and Technology. Lisa’s undergraduate education majored in communication design and American studies, with graduate degrees in Painting and Communication Design as well as a project-based PhD from RMIT University, Australia.  Before arriving in New York, Lisa was director of the Communication Design Masters at RMIT University and creative director at Studio Anybody, in Melbourne, Australia. The design work of Studio Anybody was published in the US, the UK, Netherlands, Japan and Australia, and more recently Lisa’s academic visual essays and writings on design research have been disseminated through international conference proceedings, research exhibitions, journal articles and book chapters. The more recent research projects are grounded in the field of education and learning with a participatory action research approach. A multi-year research award has supported the establishment of a lab that works with a network of K12 schools to prototype and pilot interventions that focus on the challenge of designing engaging learning experiences both inside and outside of school.

Laurene Vaughan is the Nierenberg Chair, Distinguished Professor of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, 2012 – 2013. She was appointed as Associate Professor Design and Communication, in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. Since 2009 she has been Research Leader within the RMIT Design Research Institute, leading a community of inquiry into the Mediated City. Originally coming from an art and design education background with a major in sculpture, Laurene has melded a career of practicing artist, designer and educator in Australia and internationally. Laurene’s research focuses on the interactive and situated nature of human experience, particularly the ways that we create and articulate the experience of place through practice. Laurene is an experienced educator and for the past decade has focused on practice as a mode and methodology of research, particularly in relation to graduate degrees across a range of disciplinary contexts.