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Mapping historical research methods in design practice (online)
Tuesday, 28/June/2022:
5:00pm - 6:30pm

Session Chair: Aggie Toppins, Washington University in St. Louis
Location: Online Conversation Space

Chair: Briar Levit, Portland State University, US

This Conversation will only be accessible online.

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Mapping historical research methods in design practice

Aggie Toppins1, Briar Levit2

1Washington University in St. Louis, United States of America; 2Portland State University, United States of America

Design practice is having a moment with history. Industry trends have long demonstrated a formalist engagement with history, even as design history scholarship expanded its body of literature and deepened its inquiries beyond the formalist approaches used in early survey texts. Industry-facing conferences dedicate content to questions about how the past embeds itself in the present and future field. Trade publications are publishing calls for and contributions to histories beyond the canon. Overlooked and underrepresented narratives are becoming more visible, as are efforts to preserve knowledge about historical production methods and technologies. Whether or not practitioners are well-versed in historical methodologies, there seems to be a renewed, practical interest in the content and methods of design history. The question of what practitioners can do with historical knowledge and research methods is a subject of considerable inquiry. This conversation aims to map extant and emerging possibilities in the overlapping space between design history and practice. Because academic institutions increasingly expect design faculty to integrate research and scholarship in applied outputs, we will create a working document that articulates and organizes convergent methods in historical research and studio making in the hopes of identifying trajectories for future practices.

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