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Shortly the first cohort of HighWire students will enter the full doctoral stage of the HighWire Doctoral Training Centre. As such, fellow HighWirees are currently working to finish project work and construct developed doctoral proposals. In what is emerging as a tradition of sorts plans are underway for the initiation of the next cohort and the 2011 Doctoral Training Summer School. Watch this space.

Proposals then? I’m currently navigating a divide that has occurred in my research during my time in London with TinkerLondon. This time was somewhat changing both personally and research-wise and, as always, it seems that navigating splits and divides is something that I must do .

One approach to a proposal is driving me to look at ‘reconstructing’ (repositioning) the role of the designer. It has become increasing clear to me that designers in many fields are missing the development in ‘discipline’ that the digital economy, new technologies, economic development, social progress and cultural change afford. As a research proposal this is one that resonates with industry and policy and enables exploration of new models, services and approaches.

Secondly, ‘democratic design’ (also innovation) simultaneously the thorn in my side and my new found play thing is leading the development of the second approach. Research and literature reviews in this area have been interesting, frustrating, and surprisingly provocative. Thus the idea of writing a ‘democratic design manifesto’ appeals currently. (Harking back to my ‘discontent with design’ days – Johanna Van Daalen may remember these.)

Designers and writers ranging from Leon Cruickshank to Gaetano Pesce hold disparate views or definitions of ‘democratic’, in the sense of design. This approach has potential for development of an interesting thesis and philosophical perspective, with perhaps the potential to engage in a practice based element and development of a ‘democratic model of design’.

A fork in the road; more decisions ahead it seems.

One thought on “Entering the doctoral phase

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