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18 JUNE 2012

Design PhD Conference 2012, School of Design, Northumbria University

"Date: 27th and 28th June 2012, Place: School of Design, Northumbria

The Design PhD Conference 2012 at the School of Design, Northumbria University is a collaborative event between the School of Design's Centre for Design Research and ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster University. The conference offers an opportunity for PhD Students, Masters Students, recent graduates and businesses to meet, exchange knowledge and ideas, and learn about the latest developments in design thinking, methods and research projects."

(Northumbria University, 7 January 2012)


2012art and design conference • British university • businesses • Centre for Design Research • communities of practiceconferencedesign conferencedesign methods • Design PhD Conference 2012 • design researchdesign researcherdesign scholarshipdesign thinking • exchange ideas • exchange knowledge • ImaginationLancaster • Lancaster University • latest developments in design thinking • Masters studentsnew university • Newcastle Polytechnic • North East of England • Northeast • Northumbria • Northumbria University • Northumbria UniversityNewcastle • NU • PhDPhD studentspractice-led research • recent graduates • research projects • School of Design • UKUK universityuniversity • University of Northumbria • UNN


Simon Perkins
27 FEBRUARY 2012

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral

"Kevin Allocca is YouTube's trends manager, and he has deep thoughts about silly web video. In this talk from TEDYouth, he shares the 4 reasons a video goes viral."

(Kevin Allocca)

Fi.1 "Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral", YouTube: Uploaded by TEDtalksDirector on 27 Feb 2012.
Fig.2 "Nyan Cat [original]", YouTube: Uploaded by saraj00n on 5 Apr 2011.
Fig.3 "New Zealand Nyan Cat", YouTube: Uploaded by 1milliondollaz on 11 Aug 2011 [Nyan Cat + 8–Bit version of "Slice of Heaven" New Zealand singer/songwriter Dave Dobbyn with the band Herbs].
Fig.4 "bike lanes by Casey Neistat", YouTube: Uploaded by caseyneistat on 7 Jun 2011.



8-bitAotearoa New ZealandAustraliabitpop • Casey Neistat • chiptunecommunities of practicecultural codesdigital culture • double rainbow • expectation • Friday (song) • Jimmy Kimmel • Kevin Allocca • New York • Nyan Cat • participationpixelartre-edit • Rebecca Black • remixremix culturesilly web videotaste (sociology)taste formations • tastemaker • TED Talks • TEDYouth • trends • trends manager • unexpectedness • videos that go viral • viral • viral music video • Yosemitebear Mountain • YouTube


Simon Perkins
06 NOVEMBER 2009

Rehearsal as a Naming Process Central to the Development of Creative Identities

"Students in the Multimedia degree programme at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) are requested to keep online journals in the form of weblogs. They do so to document their evolving design practice and experimentation....

By maintaining the journals NTU Multimedia students engage in a naming process where they rehearse their creative identities into practice. Through doing so they script their individual narratives as they contribute to a shared discourse about the nature of their field. Through assimilating and reflecting upon new knowledge in this way, the students are able to participate in localised Communities of Practice that act as vehicles for naming, sharing and critiquing common practices. In doing so they become located within a broader network of symbolic exchange readied for forging new opportunities for collaboration and prepared for establishing individualised practices within a broader network of global interconnections."

(Julius Ayodeji and Simon Perkins, 2009)

[1] Dávid Jablonovský, Tom Nightingale and Kameljit Banwait
[2] Ayodeji, J. and S. Perkins (2009). Rehearsal as a Naming Process Central to the Development of Creative Identities. Designs on e–Learning International Online Conference. London, UK, University of the Arts London.



2009communities of practice • creative identities • creative practice • Designs on E-Learning Online Conference • e-learningelearning • enhanced learning • evolving practice • identity naming and rehearsal • identity rehearsal • identity rehearsal and enactment • Julius Ayodeji • knowledge integrationlearning • learning identities • learning journallearning storiesmultimedianamingnaming and rehearsalnaming processNottingham Trent UniversityNTUNTU Multimediaonline journalspedagogypersonal knowledge mappingpractice narrativesprofessional developmentreflective journalrehearsalrehearsal through creative practiceSimon Perkins • symbolic exchange • Technology Enhanced LearningTELUKvirtual learning


03 JULY 2009

Communities of practice and habitus: A critique

"'The conditionings associated with a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them. Objectively 'regulated' and 'regular' without being in any way the product of obedience to rules, they can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organizing action of a conductor.' (Bourdieu 1990: 53)

If we explore this statement, we see, first, an explicit link between patterns of thought and social conditions. Particular forms of social condition produce particular forms of habitus. The habitus is in turn not so much a content as a set of principles, principles which are embodied, expressed in the hauteur of the aristocrat or the stance of the peasant. Rather than a focus on particular contexts in which principles can be employed, the emphasis is on the way in which a similar set of principles is employed across contexts, is 'applied, by simple transfer, to the most dissimilar areas of practice' (Bourdieu 1986: 175). A crucial factor in this application is then whether they are appropriate to the particular rules of the game. Bourdieu is particularly concerned to stress the practical mastery of the rules of the game and the effortless performance of rules without the recognition that such rules are being followed. The rules emerge from the ebb and flow of practice and are inherent in the relations that operate in a particular field. 'There is', argues Bourdieu (1990: 50), 'an economy of practices, a reason immanent in practices, whose 'origin' lies neither in the 'decisions' of reason understood as rational calculation nor in the determinations of mechanisms external to and superior to the agents.' However, the ability to employ the appropriate strategies depends on the tacit acquisition of generative principles that depend on social position. Those from different social conditions will tend to respond in the same way, because of the objective conditions of existence that they share (Bourdieu 1990: 58). Their early experiences will be crucial in determining their future responses, as they will tend to react to new experiences by assimilating them to the generative principles they acquired (Bourdieu 1990: 60). The focus on practice is clearly attractive to those developing the notion of communities of practice (Wenger 1999: 281 note 6), but we need to recognize that for Bourdieu habitus is prior to practice a nd regulates it. This seems to give problems for conceptions that privilege the development of modes of operation through practice. If habitus, as Bourdieu has it, is acquired at an early stage in an unconscious fashion and is resistant to change, then the issue is the interaction between habitus and practice, rather than its creation through practice."
(Alistair Mutch, 2003)


communities of practiceCoPdispositionsEtienne Wengerhabitus • hauteur • organisation studies • organisational communication • patterns of thoughtPierre Bourdieusocial conditions


Simon Perkins
09 FEBRUARY 2009

One to one is not enough: participatory technologies and learning

"The ways students use digital technologies are fundamentally different from how they are taught in the design studio. Implicated herein is the practice of teaching primarily through one–on–one 'desk crits' – what design educator Cal Swann derogatorily refers to as the 'Sitting by Nellie' approach, which often results in design instructors explaining their personal experiences in order to improve the students' work.

Conversely, by motivating students as active participants in learning, who construct knowledge collaboratively with their peers – rather than relying upon transmissive teacher–to–student approaches that create what Fischer calls 'passive, consumer–learners' – co–operative technologies reduce the focus on isolated learners. Such collaborative practices are not just about learning how to master participatory technologies as a means to personal expression; they should also be understood as social skills that enable engagement within a larger group or community.

The implications of participatory technologies for the practice of design will be long–term, far–reaching and are already being felt – though they are only beginning to be understood. What these developments mean for design education has barely begun to be addressed. 'The informal participatory communities of fans and gamers are where digital natives already congregate when they seek out knowledge – not the traditional classroom where learning is seen to be static, provisional and bureaucratic,' Jenkins declares. His cautionary report that schools tend to educate only individual problem–solvers – even though students entering the workplace will be asked to work collaboratively in teams, drawing on different sets of expertise – is as valid to design pedagogy as it is to education in general.

Digital technologies allow anyone with access not only to peer behind the curtain of the mysterious creative process but to experiment with it, and even appropriate the creations of others, first hand. Pierre Lévy's notion of a problem–solving, democratic 'collective intelligence' is already a reality on the Net where most of tomorrow's designers now engage with creative culture. When this group enters higher education, they will not leave their online communities and collaborative skills at the door.

There will always be a symbiotic relationship between design and the technologies used to support the creation of artefacts. Nevertheless, once connected digital technologies are introduced in the design studio – as they were in the 1990s – a new way of (net‑)working and engaging with design's communities of practice is possible. Consequently, design education requires a new approach that imparts relevant knowledge and skills in partnership with these technologies – technologies that take advantage of a classroom that exists beyond the academy walls and position the design student as a part of a broader community of learners.

From this perspective, students are not just individualised learners, the computer is not just another production tool, and the classroom studio is not a self–contained entity where students acquire knowledge to be applied later outside in the 'real world'. This type of connected pedagogy can be envisioned as a part of a wider network of learning, fostering engagement with the field that continues long after students receive their diplomas. The design classroom and its curriculum of projects, critiques and comps still have a crucial role to play in such a context, but they have to be connected with what students already know about in their world.

This article is based on research from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation (

Illustration by João Fazenda"
(Deborah Littlejohn, Eye no.70 vol. 18)



Simon Perkins

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