Research and Creative Practice Module: #1st Post!

I chose to do the ‘Research and Creative Practice’ module this year, for semester two. I have a small flicker of interest in research careers but very little experience so I am hoping this module will help me with that. I never considered myself doing – and enjoying – research until I came to DJCAD but thanks to my experiences with generative research (from my design studies module) and from lecturers and speakers, who have spoken about their own research, I am now really intrigued by it.

 

For the module we have to pick a topic we would like to look into and identify a book from the library to get us started. Over the course of the semester we will further our reading and investigate the subject more broadly. We will then give small presentations about our research in seminar groups. Together with this we will be introduced to research techniques and practices in both seminars and lectures. The final goal being a 2,000 – 2,500 word literary review about our findings – eeek!

So, the aim of our first seminar group was to think about what things we would like to research. We all noted our ideas down on post-it notes which we stuck on the wall under headings such as ‘Education’, ‘Politics’, ‘Environment’ etc. My main area was education as  I would really like to look into creative learning. I would particularly like to look into  helping people re-learn or remember things.

I have a few topics under this umbrella however so I need to work out (quickly!) what to focus on:

  • How layout design can enhance understanding/learning

I really love layout design and getting right into the nitty gritty of page folios and paragraph styles. I would take InDesign over Photoshop any day. I have a lot to learn about it however and realise that it’s not just about making a magazine look nice. During my advertising and branding module we seen a video about eye-tracking which, as a graphic designer, I found a bit disheartening. She hardly paid any attention to things I could have imagined the designer spending a great deal of time on. I would like to look into this more together with how people actually read and view things on a page and how this information influences layout design – particularly of educational and information based publications.

  • Helping trauma victims learn to communicate again

I watched a programme about a soldier who had suffered a severe head trauma and he basically had to learn how to eat, walk and talk again. I noticed that a lot of the things he was using to learn to communicate again were for children. I wondered if this was necessary or if tools and books could be designed for adults?

  • How police/councillors help children/adults to talk about and describe an experience accurately

I would like this to overlap into service design because a lot of the process involve getting people talking and describing things. But getting people to talk about an experience can be critical in some cases, especially if it were for a court case for example. I would like to investigate why people sometimes recount things differently to how they happened e.g filling in things unconsciously; then look into how design could perhaps help this.

  • Communication to children/adults with autism and how to design for them

I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell over the Christmas break and was fascinated by his research into how a man with autism perceived a movie. The main issue was he could not mind-read which is a skill Gladwell talks about as he explores the main theme of the book: rapid cognition – the thinking we do (without always realising it) in a blink of an eye. I would like to learn more about autism and either think about what a designer would need to consider when designing for someone with autism, or think about how design could help them to understand the world around them.

  • Communicating to children/adults with learning difficulties

Communicating messages is a key element of graphic design but I would like to think about the people I am communicating to a little bit more – particularly children (and even adults) with learning difficulties. How could you ensure your message talks to everyone? Or how can or does design help children/adults to communicate?

  • How design is taught prior to further education e.g in secondary and even primary school

I could not really have told you what design was when I was at school – was it just me? What’s the situation today? Since coming to DJCAD I have been overwhelmed by how broad and important design is. I would like to investigate how design is currently taught and whether it is of any use to children. Would it be helpful for them to have an understanding of design, the design process and how to apply it early on?

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