In recent years, creative work and its potential relationship to scholarly research are increasing in inﬂuence and introducing critical vitality to Universities, opening new approaches for collaboration, interdisciplinarity and community engagement. It offers a research approach for designers that merges personal experience into the creative practice, skill set and design artefact.
A practice-led inquiry considers research and the practice operating as interdependent and complementary, developing processes and specific methodologies. In this context, practice is the purposeful action taken within a specific context by creative means: the making, modifying or designing of artefacts and processes. The consideration of practice-led has been a part of the academic landscape for the last decades, with several PhD and Master's programmes raising awareness of the particular kind of knowledge that creative practice can convey. Knowledge here can take the format of new methods, techniques, taxonomies and models. However, the application of practice-led as a paradigm in tertiary design education is scarce and requires more investigation.
The DAT LINK 2023 Dossier showcases 12 designers/practitioners/researchers: Damian Wilson, Izzy Hutcheson, Jade Chambers, Kat Frewen, Kexin Shan, Kristen Lum, Ruby Brown, Sophie Ardern, Sophie Lewis, Silvia Kostandini, Tara Falconer and Qianying Li. The issue presents their design projects led by creative practice conducted at Auckland University of Technology in Aotearoa, New Zealand. These new researchers feel increasingly unsettled tensions against conventional research methods, which seem too obtuse to record the dynamic of the inquiry that lies at the centre of their personal experience. These academics undertook investigations through creative practice, creating an artefact alongside a written exegesis to fulfil academic requirements. Through their research, they discuss outcomes such as research paradigms, frameworks and methodologies that contribute to the knowledge or methods that another practitioner can use. To do this, they invested in discursive reflections about the making processes they engaged in, including an account of how any creative works were made and appraised.
The collection creates a unique voice that speaks outwardly to the practice-led led research larger community and raises awareness of the practice's potential as a methodology for designers. In this sense, in the DAT LINK 2023 Dossier, we aim to foster reflections on creative practice as an approach to research in design education. While working within this scope, it is envisaged that some arguments and inferences will have applicability beyond Aotearoa, New Zealand and for other creative practices, practitioners and researchers.
Enjoy the reading!
Marcos Mortensen Steagall, PhD
DAT LINK Guest Editor