‘Research through design’ as a practice-based form of inquiry is now widely adopted in humanities-based research cultures and beyond. However, questions as to how this form of inquiry is understood, validated, and disseminated are of current debate. In an attempt to progress this debate, a new international conference series called Research through Design (RTD) was created to support the dissemination of practice-based design research through a novel and experimental format.
The original aim of RTD was to foreground the materiality of design research, placing the artefacts of research practice centre stage. A second aim has been to create an environment that is purposefully and synergistically positioned for the presentation and discussion of ‘research through design’ practice. To this end a novel format foregrounding the research artefact through both exhibition and dialogical round-table discussion sessions in ‘Rooms of Interest’ was devised. The discussions and critical reflections arising during and following the conference demonstrate how this format offers a more synergistic approach for the dissemination of ‘research through design’ (RtD) than many traditional formats permit, and raises key practical and philosophical challenges therein, contributing to a broader discussion of what it means to practice RtD as a form of inquiry.
The conference series aims to foster and support a burgeoning “research through design” academic community and to provide a fitting dialogical dissemination platform for this community. We hope that the conference will encourage academic communities to give proper consideration to the concept of design as a knowledge-generating activity.