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24 FEBRUARY 2013

Theory construction problems in design research

"Until recently, the field of design was an adjunct to art and craft. With the transformation of design into an industrial discipline come responsibilities that the field of design studies has only recently begun to address.

This transformation means that design is becoming a generalizable discipline that may as readily be applied to processes, media interfaces or information artefacts as to tools, clothing, furniture or advertisements. To understand design as a discipline that can function within any of these frames means developing a general theory of design. This general theory should support application theories and operational programmes. Moving from a general theory of design to the task of solving problems involves a significantly different mode of conceptualization and explicit knowledge management than adapting the tacit knowledge of individual design experience.

So far, most design theories involve clinical situations or micro–level grounded theories developed through induction. This is necessary, but it is not sufficient for the kinds of progress we need.

In the social sciences, grounded theory has developed into a robust and sophisticated system for generating theory across levels. A 'grounded' theory is an inductive theory emerging or rising from the ground of direct, empirical experience. These theories ultimately lead to larger ranges of understanding, and the literature of grounded theory is rich in discussions of theory construction and theoretical sensitivity (Glaser 1978, 1992; Glaser and Strauss 1967; Strauss 1991; Strauss and Corbin 1990, 1994).

One of the deep problems in design research is the failure to engage in grounded theory, developing theory out of practice. Instead, many designers confuse practice with research. Rather than developing theory from practice through articulation and inductive inquiry, some designers mistakenly argue that practice is research. From this, they claim that practicebased research is itself a form of theory construction."

(Ken Friedman, 2008, pp.153–154)

Ken Friedman (2008). "Research into, by and for design." Journal of Visual Arts Practice Volume 7 Number 2. Intellect Ltd. Article. English Language. doi: 10.1386/jvap.7.2.153/1

TAGS

2008 • Anselm Strauss • application theories • art and craft • Barney Glaser • Christopher Fraylingclinical researchclinical situationsconceptualisationdesign disciplinedesign fielddesign researchdesign studies • design theories • Donald Schon • empirical experience • empirical-analyticexplicit knowledge • general theory of design • generalisabilitygenerating theorygrounded theoryHerbert Read • individual design experience • inductive enquiryinductive reasoning • inductive theory • Journal of Visual Art Practice • Juliet Corbin • Ken FriedmanMichael Polanyi • micro-level grounded theories • Nigel Cross • pamphlet • Peter Bergerpractice-based research • research by design • research by or through designresearch for design • research into design • research through designsocial sciencestacit knowledge • theoretical sensitivity • theory building • theory construction • Thomas KuhnThomas Luckmann

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 FEBRUARY 2013

UK National Society for Education in Art and Design

"The NSEAD's origins can be traced to 1888, when a group of art school principals recognised the need to raise the standard of art teaching and improve the status of art teachers. They founded the Society of Art Masters, which became the National Society of Art Masters early in the last century. In 1899 HRH Edward Prince of Wales became Honorary President of the Society and in 1901, as King Edward VII, he became the SAM's patron. This link with the throne lapsed upon the death of King George V in 1936.

With the development of art and crafts as part of general education, and the appointment of men and women as full–time specialist art teachers in schools, the membership was extended and, in 1944, the Society adopted the title National Society for Art Education.

Another strand of the Society's history concerns the Society for Education through Art which grew out of a framework of an institute for exploring new ideas in art and education, proposed by Henry Moore, Eric Gill, Sir Herbert Read and Alexander Barclay Russell.

The SEA itself was formed in 1940 by the amalgamation of the Art Teacher's Guild and the New Society of Art Teachers. After two years of negotiations the SEA and the NSAE merged their interests to become the National Society for Education in Art and Design in 1984. In 1995 the Association of Centres for Art and Design Teacher Education decided to merge with the Society and a Teacher Education Board was established to serve the special interests of this group. The NSAE launched the Journal of Art & Design Education (now the International Journal of Art & Design Education) in 1982 with Henry Moore as its founding patron. The Society established The Athene Trust in 1996.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling was appointed patron of the Society in May 2002. He was joined by Sir John and Lady Frances Sorrell and by Sir Nicholas Serota in 2010 and by Professor Magdalene Odundo OBE in 2011.

In early 2009 A4, formerly the Association of Advisers and Inspectors of Art and Design took a decision to merge its interests with those of the NSEAD. The process of convergence was completed with the full implementation of a revised constitution and rules on 1st January 2010. Among other changes this merger led to the creation of an on–line special focus group for advisers, inspectors, consultants, advanced skills teachers (ASTs) and others with a particular interest in school improvement issues."

TAGS

1888 • Alexander Russell • art and craftsart and educationart school • art teachers • Art Teachers Guild • art teaching • Association of Advisers and Inspectors of Art and Design • Association of Centres for Art and Design Teacher Education • AST • Christopher Frayling • Eric Gill • Frances Sorrell • general education • Henry Moore • Herbert Read • International Journal of Art and Design Education • John Sorrell • Journal of Art and Design Education • Magdalene Odundo • National Society for Art Education • National Society for Education in Art and Design • National Society of Art Masters • New Society of Art Teachers • Nicholas Serota • NSAE • NSEAD • SAM (acronym) • schools • SEA (acronym) • Society for Education through Art • Society of Art Masters • special interests group • Teacher Education Board • The Athene Trust • UK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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