Book Review: Practice-based Design Research

Holly Willis
2017 Dialectic  
CRItICAL book REvIEw hoLLy wILLIS illuminate and perhaps even elevate the discipline of design generally, it does not recognize the more nuanced and sophisticated notions of design that, for Vaughan, suggest its true relevance. She explains that while design can operate as a tool for problem solving, it can just as well serve the function of problem making. "Design," she asserts, "can open our known parameters, expose the intricacies of relationships, ask questions, posit answers and then
more » ... e them open again." 2 This specifically explosive capacity can propel students beyond the more pragmatic orientation of the M.F.A. or M.Des. to make design appropriate for doctoral study. Funders agree: doctoral programs supported by a growing number of diverse funding initiatives are prolific in the UK, Scandinavia, Europe and Australia. With a proliferation of programs, however, comes the need for critical scrutiny, not only of the sources and impact of this funding, but of institutional infrastructures, practices, definitions and more. What ideological forces inspire or challenge these shifts? The essays collected in Practice-based Design Research respond to these questions, but the book also has a more specific mandate, spelled out by Vaughan in the opening chapter. She writes very clearly that the book "establishes grounds for the validity and importance of practice-based design research." 3
doi:10.3998/dialectic.14932326.0001.209 fatcat:7suylr5lsjgulpayidveuld4j4