Conference theme: New Disciplines of Making – Shared Knowledge in Doing

Using the museum artefacts as inspiration contributions to RTD 2017 fell under the following themes- Material: Fluidity of Knowledge; Process: Outcomes of the Unintended; Finishing: States of Completion and Meaning: Belonging and Attachment. For more information on each of the themes visit the conference themes page.


Our provocateurs for 2017 were the fabulous duo- Japanese Architect Azusa Murakami and British Artist Alexander Groves from Studio Swine and Prof. Elisa Giaccardi, TUDelft.

Elisa Giaccardi - Hans Stakelbeek (rechtenvrij).jpgElisa Giaccardi  opened the conference on the 22nd of March. Elisa is Professor and Chair of Interactive Media Design at Delft University of Technology, where she leads the Connected Everyday Lab. From her pioneering work in meta-design and participatory technology to the role of the non-human in a more-than-human world, her research reflects an ongoing concern with design as a shared process of invention of reality and a fascination for the role that technology can play. Currently, she is establishing thing-centred design as a novel design framework and methodology that helps designers move past the blind spots of human-centered design in a “more-than-human” world. Thing-centred design looks at artifacts as co-performers of practice next to humans, and thus as potential co-researchers and co-designers in the design process. In addition to academic research, Elisa works with companies and consulting firms to explore how thing-centred design can offer additional resources to human imagination and capabilities in the context of design practice.


STUDIO_SWINE_PRINTED_PAGES_00074Our closing provocateurs, SWINE (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is a collaboration between Japanese Architect Azusa Murakami and British Artist Alexander Groves.

Creating works that span across disciplines of art, design and film, SWINE explores themes of regional identity and the future of resources in the context of globalisation. SWINE’s work manifests a deep research into materials and industrialisation.

Operating across a wide range of disciplines, SWINE’s work has gained an international audience, their films have been awarded at Cannes and other film festivals around the world. SWINE has been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Art and Design New York, and the Venice Art Biennale.

Studio Swine will be presenting their work and their research into vernacular design and the part history, travel and materials plays in their design.

They will be discussing how they made their projects and the research which took them to far flung corners from the worlds biggest human hair market in China, to the middle of the North Atlantic Gyre to collect sea plastic and to the streets of Sao Paulo to learn from informal economies and recycling.

Using design to address and connect seemingly incongruous themes of regional identity and globalisation, sustainability and industrialisation. Studio Swine will also be presenting their most recent project Fordlandia which took them to Brazil to explore Henry Ford’s forgotten Jungle City in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest.

Two RTD Panels:

22nd March Design: Speakers included Kristina Andersen (Steim), Tobie Kerridge (Goldsmiths) , James Auger (M-ITI Madeira) and Sarah Kettley (Nottingham Trent), chaired by Dr Craig Martin (ECA). More information on the Design Panel Here

23rd March Museum & the Artefact: Dr Sam Alberti, Keeper of the Department of Science and Technology and Dr Xavier Dectot, Keeper of the Department of Art & Design (both National Museums of Scotland), Dr Jayne Wallace, Northumbria and Prof. JP Singh, Edinburgh, chaired by Professor Chris Breward (ECA). More Information on the Museum Panel Here.

Tours and Collections:

We also be offered tours of the National Museum of Scotland’s Collection Centre to give delegates a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the museum’s extensive stores, as well as gallery tours from curators of the newly opened Art, Design & Fashion galleries and Science & Technology galleries. For those visiting Edinburgh for the first time we also had a walking tour led by Rachel Simmonds, an RIAS Accredited Conservation Architect, and Programme Director of Interior Design at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art.

This year’s conference dinner was held at the beautiful Dovecot Studios overlooking their working tapestry studio (

Design Research Workshops:

In 2017 we introduced four hands on workshops before the conference examining a mix of disciplines from printmaking to sandcasting, mapping to communication. The workshops took place across Edinburgh on the 21st March all day. More information on each of the workshops here.

RTD for REF:

Friday 24th March 9-10am, led by Dean Hughes, Head of Art, Edinburgh College of Art. The Research Excellence Framework presents both challenges and opportunities for practitioners to present their work. Invited to submit to Unit 34 in the form of portfolios, how designers and makers build narratives through which the rigoursignificance and originality of their practice is articulated is an art form in itself. With a diminishing window of opportunity to discuss and prepare for the REF, Dean Hughes will explore the subject. Fresh from conversations across the CHEAD network (Council for Higher Education in Art & Design) Dean will present the latest thinking from the art and design community for the expectations of how portfolios submissions can demonstrate research quality through evidence.




We accepted submissions from researcher-practitioners documenting research through design projects, including descriptions of methods, processes and insights emerging from design inquiry. Criteria for selection were based on the author’s presentation of artefacts (constituting research process or outcomes) and were central to their submission. Artefacts were included in the curated exhibition, and papers accompanied the exhibited artefact in a presentation of ‘research through design’ at the conference. Papers and images of the artefacts are now published as digital conference proceedings with unique DOIs via Figshare,. Selected works of exceptional quality will be invited to be part of an archival publication to be produced after the event. Selected papers can be seen in the detailed conference programme below and abstracts for the papers can be read on the papers/exhibits page.

22 March


23 March


24 March