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PHD-DESIGN  August 2009

PHD-DESIGN August 2009

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Subject:

Re: Structure for practice based PhD

From:

Wolfgang Jonas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Wolfgang Jonas <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 11 Aug 2009 09:56:36 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (151 lines)

Dear Eduardo (and others),

you wrote:
"So here we are, by oblivion probably, asking 
ourselves what Design (or Art) Research should be 
so that it could still be research and also be 
design (or Art).
...
Maybe we can finally define a Designology as 
Tufan Orel pretended and make the perfect Design 
Professor.

So here we arrive to the duality David wrote 
about. Why not all in one? A Designologist both 
practitioner and researcher?"

This is what I and many others in Germany are 
looking for. I would like to come back to your 
"blaming the Germans", referring to Ken´s 
explanations of the history of the PhD:
Indeed, the German Dr.phil. has a long history 
and comprises the whole spectrum of philosophical 
faculties (Philologie, Soziologie, Politik, 
Geschichte, Kunstwissenschaft, Psychologie, 
Pädagogik, etc.). It is, no doubt, a pure 
research degree.

What is interesting is the different meaning and 
use of PhD, which, in Germany, is not at all 
conceived as equivalent to the Dr.phil. The 
Dr.phil. is firmly fixed in the traditions of 
these above mentioned disciplines. And it causes 
extreme suspicion in these circles if some 
newcomers (such as design claiming to do 
research) presume to enter this jealously 
protected bosk. I have made this painful 
experience during the last 4 years, when I fought 
for the Dr.phil. in Designwissenschaft at my 
University (I was successful at last). One of the 
central controversial issues is the relation to 
practice in Design Science / Studies / Research. 
These old disciplines regard any kind of practice 
(which I consider as an essential medium of 
inquiry in design research) as alien to proper 
academic science.

Because of this kind of experience there is the 
tendency in Germany to establish PhD programs for 
Designwissenschaften. The main reason in my view 
is the fact that the "PhD" concept is unloaded 
with inappropriate connotations of any kind. It 
is free for new interpretations that we urgently 
need for concepts of design research. If there 
are connotations at all, then, maybe: pragmatist, 
anglosaxon, without great tradition, flexible, ...

So, "PhD" in Germany means a new doctorate which 
allows experiments with new integrative 
"all-in-one" forms of theory and practice (no 
matter how you want to name it: practice-based, 
project-grounded, research through, etc.). If we 
(Germans) use "PhD, then in clear contrast and 
demarcation from the (sometimes ossified) 
Dr.phil. traditions.

Well, this was a late German contribution. Maybe 
it makes things even more complex. But dealing 
with complexity is our expertise, isn´t it?

Best wishes,

Jonas

________





At 17:47 Uhr +0100 10.08.2009, Eduardo Corte Real wrote:
>Dear David and Martin,
>
>Maybe I'll manage to address the issues you raised both in one post.
>
>A few days ago when President Obama stressed the 
>fact that he had inherited an economy in 
>disaster someone wrote that he was trying to 
>write History because who writes History gains 
>the Future.
>
>Design History has been written as if the Design 
>institutionalization had evolved from arts and 
>crafts (very low profile activity) and arrived 
>to higher education in a very low HE hierarchic 
>position (and stayed there until little by 
>little entered University Departments and in 
>Schools entering universities as a poor relative 
>that comes up just to embarrass us).
>
>This story obliterates the other history line 
>that is originated in the Fine Arts and one 
>amongst the three loving ones, Architecture.
>
>Architecture, since the Renaissance was a 
>complete superior activity fully liberal and 
>highly respected as you find from your 
>"Christopher Wrens". In the institutionalization 
>of Design what really happens is that the lower 
>line of arts and crafts teaching climbs up to 
>meet the higher architecture teaching line and 
>also maybe Painting and Sculpture (I don't know 
>about what happened in your countries but Art 
>students here had to know part of the human 
>Anatomy as well as the Medicine students).
>
>The intellectual proposal of the Bauhaus was 
>highly determined by this fact and the push that 
>modernism in art gave to society was as 
>important as the theory of relativity if not 
>more.
>
>So here we are, by oblivion probably, asking 
>ourselves what Design (or Art) Research should 
>be so that it could still be research and also 
>be design (or Art).
>
>My suggestion is that we should really check 
>things out. How did they really happen a 
>probably re-write Design History and once and 
>for all erase the importance of the meaning you 
>give to Design as a mental human activity 
>inherent to every discipline. What matters is 
>how design institutions evolved, meaning: Design 
>Schools 8and university departments, Design 
>Museums, Design Stores, Design Professional 
>Associations. And, and Š and this is a big and, 
>try to see what these institutions out of 
>English speaking countries were and are.
>
>Maybe we can finally define a Designology as 
>Tufan Orel pretended and make the perfect Design 
>Professor.
>
>So here we arrive to the duality David wrote 
>about. Why not all in one? A Designologist both 
>practitioner and researcher?
>
>Cheers,
>
>Eduardo

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