Practicing Theory (or: Did Practice Kill Theory?)

7th Swiss Design Network Symposium One-day Symposium 2011 – HEAD Geneva

Designerly ways of knowing, reflection in action/reflection on action, tacit knowledge, the language of things etc. The theoretical dimension of design research is usually described in numerous and various ways that tend to subsume in elegant formulas the complex relationships between designers and thinkers. Many design research bibliographies show a tendency to over-quote a set of common references that could be perceived as the doxa of design research – either in French theory (Deleuze, Baudrillard), or in the fashionable sociology of systems (Latour, Tarde) or the pragmatic approach (Schön, Simon, Dewey).

The Swiss Design Network one-day Symposium of 2011 Practicing Theory aims at understanding what are the real theoretical contexts of designers practising design research, how these theoretical backgrounds are formed, explored and broaden, and what use is made of them in the everyday practice of a research project in design. Not only will we seek to understand where from designers think, but also in what directions their research could possibly push the activity of thinking. The aim is not to re-design the ideal library of design thinking, but on the contrary to interrogate the dialogue that design research establishes with the historical discourse disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, semiotics or cognitive theories.