Insight 2015 at NID Bengaluru, India

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Reflection - Insight 2015 Design Research ConferenceNational Insitute of Design, Bengaluru, India


It was my first experience presenting a paper at a conference.  The unsettling nerves of such an event were easily overcome by the friendliest environment I could have hoped for.  The National Institute of Design in India is a warm and welcoming institution, making its way through establishing design research in academic programmes and working on setting up a doctoral research degree.  It is a place where it is ok to make mistakes.  A place where sharing ideas and knowledge openly is extremely welcome with a positive feeling of constructiveness.

In a room of about 50 people there were few research students, most were career researchers at different institutions or design professionals. This was an interesting audience for what I was had to present.  I felt that my presentation was generally well received.  Although I was left with the feeling that it was imperfect, that for as much as I prepared there were points I did not reenforce enough on the spot.  I spoke freely about my paper and tried to articulate straightforward in a language that would be easily accessible.  This was a good challenge for me.  It became clear that it is better to articulate one thought well, than several thoughts unclearly.

The experience had me reflect on one aspect which is regarding cultural context when presenting my work.  There was one particular slide showing an image of a food project, where a message with a funny pun that in the UK and other european countries would be understood as so, however in this context it was not so clearly understood. It made me realise how in my research some of the messaging I am analysing is very tied to the local contexts.  This is something I need to consider and look into more. However these local stories is also what gives richness to the research that I am doing.


Some of the points that stood out to me from the presentations.

Jane Pavitt of RCA elaborated the notion of ‘what is it to be a designer?’.  That we have moved away from a design practice focused on consumption to one focused on systems - We have moved from a focus on materiality to one of agency.  A standpoint that as a communication designer I reenforce in my practice and philosophy.

Roberto Fraquelli of Plymouth University presented an approach to design thinking that is much aligned with my research - Holistic Deisgn Thinking with respect to deep (design) ecologies. With a strong interest in systems thinking, he has collaborated with Fritoj Capra and developed a specific methodology to design which focuses on the eco-centric.  He elaborated the notion that there are parts of design which are random.  Hapennings within the design process that we cannot have full control of, much like in the natural world.  In design there is not always a logical decision making process.  Intuition, empathy play a big role in the process of making.