Interactive Institute at NORDES'11!

1 June, 2011 - 14:48



The Interactive Institute has made substantial contributions – in organizing and presenting research – at the 4th Nordic Design Research conference! NORDES 2011 ‘Making Design Matter!’ held in Helsinki, Finland, hosted by the School of Art and Design at Aalto University on May 29-31.As research contributions from the institute, one full paper was presented ('Some Notes on Programme-Experiment Dialectics' by Johan Redström), two exploratory papers ('Missing Link: Designing for dependency' by Eva Eriksson, Peter Ljungstrand, Andreas Lykke-Olesen and David Cuartielles, and 'Practice Theory and Human-Centered Design: A sustainable bathing example' by Lenneke Kuijer and Annelise de Jong), and a paper for the doctoral consortium ('Design Practice as a Discursive and Interrogating Performance' by Li Jönsson) – abstracts and links are below.

!In addition, researchers from the Interactive Institute took part in organizing the conference. Ramia Mazé was program co-chair for the conference, both Ramia and Johan Redström are on the program committee and moderated sessions during the conference. The Interactive Institute has been active in organizing and participating in NORDES since its iniatiation in 2005.


ABSTRACTS OF RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS (below)All papers are available for download (here)


Some Notes on Programme-Experiment Dialecticsby Johan Redström

Searching for ways of conducting practice-based design research, we have explored an approach based on the formulation of design programmes as a foundation and framework for carrying out design experiments. Over the years, we have presented a number of such programmes along with experiments that explore and express their potential. There are, however, some methodological issues in this way of working that are rarely addressed. One such set of issues pertains to what we might refer to as a programme – experiment dialectics, that is, how the research process unfolds over time as programme and experiments influence, challenge and transform each other. In what follows, aspects of this dialectic will be discussed with focus on issues such as how such a process is initiated, how the unfolding of the research process depends on both stabilisation and drift, and what it means to say that such a process comes to a closure.


Missing Link: Designing for dependency by Eva Eriksson (Chalmers), Peter Ljungstrand (Interactive Institute), Andreas Lykke-Olesen (Kollision), David Cuartielles (Malmö University, K3)

In this paper, we investigate aspects of interaction design related to the appearance and context of dual-natured design objects, meaning artefacts with physical form and digital behaviour. In interaction design of today there is a focus on isolated artefacts/objects, but this does not involve the context in the sense that it is a vital part of its design and expression. We argue for interaction designers to pay respect to the dependency of computational design objects on their context to a greater extent. We would like to ask interaction designers to look at their work as part of a whole, where their creations will influence/be influenced by the rest. A workshop method named ‘Missing Link’ used in teaching is proposed here. The workshop confronts questions on how to give up control of your design and at the same time in a creative way exploit the available rules of the bigger system.


Practice Theory and Human-Centered Design: A sustainable bathing exampleby Lenneke Kuijer (Delft University of Technology), Annelise de Jong (Delft University of Technology and Interactive Institute)

Within sustainable design, design researchers and practitioners are developing novel design approaches equipped to influence domestic resource consumption in a variety of ways. However, as it turns out, the outcomes of these approaches in terms of their actual effects on sustainability are not quite as high as the desired effects. This is often taken to be a direct consequence of rebound effects or unpredicted user behaviour. In an attempt to overcome these limitations, this paper explores the implications of the combination of two research strands, practice theory and human-centred design, that may assist designers by going beyond behaviour towards gaining an understanding of use practices. Practice theory takes practices as its main unit of analysis; human-centred design works closely with potential future users. The translation of these two starting points in a design approach was explored in a still ongoing exemplar project on bathing that is elaborated on here. The paper closes with a reflection on how the theoretical instruments presented manifest themselves in the project.


Design Practice as a Discursive and Interrogating Performanceby Li Jönsson (Danish Design School and Interactive Institute)

This PhD is focused on how design can play a role in engaging people in potential serious issues, or producing forms of knowledge that are still unstable or controversial. The research objective is two-fold. First, to engage my practical skills as a designer to further develop the notion of discursive design, this will be done through a series of hands-on explorations that in different ways aim to mediate and visualise the issue of concern. My role as a designer is meant to reveal new experiences, tell new stories by assuming design is about linking the imagination to material forms. Secondly, I investigate and question how the object of design can be a purposeful, deliberate, direct participant that can open up to dialogue among participants inside as well as outside a project. This paper presents the status of two different research projects in relation to my current key areas of research where I employ my skills within interaction and product design in a co-design research environment.