ELISAVA, Barcelona, Spain. 5-7 March 2018

The Design Principles and Practices is an international journal of design research, with the aim of
creating an intellectual frame of reference, and to support an interdisciplinary conversation on the
role of the design in society. This year’s conference took place in the ELISAVA the Barcelona
School of Design Engineering. The purpose of the conference is to develop a place for
academics, researchers and practitioners to explore the meaning and purpose of ‘design’, as well
as speaking in grounded ways about the task of design and the use of designed artifacts and
processes.

 

ELISAVA School of Design, Barcelona

 

The 12th annual Design Principles and Practices conference is a crossdisciplinary platform which
brings together a diverse cohort of researchers, teachers and practitioners to discuss the nature
and future of design. The resulting discourse weaves between the theoretical and the empirical,
research and application, market pragmatics and social idealism. This event brought together
some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in field of design practice, design education
and design research. The theme of this year’s conference was No Boundaries in Design
The plenary session on day one began with a presentation by Oscar Tomico, the Program Head,
Design Engineering at ELISAVA and Assistant Professor, Industrial Design, Eindhoven University
of Technology, on the use of Start Textiles. “Towards a Research Program in the Interdisciplinary
Field of Soft Wearables and Smart Textiles” discussed the co-design of products that utilised
technology to break the boundaries of fabric, both in material form and in experiential. The
presentation discussed how emerging technologies can be utilised in s sensorial manner to aid
those with dementia and learning difficulties.

Following the morning session, delegates were encourage to join groups for a round table
discussions based on the general themes of the conference: Design in Society; Designed Objects;
Visual Design; Design Management and Professional Practice; and Architectonic, Spatial, and
Environmental Design. This discussion proved very useful in expressing opinion and experiences
of researchers and practitioners from the international community. In many ways, perhaps the
most valuable element of the conference as it facilitated a fluid discourse on a particular themes.
My own view is, perhaps this element of the conference could be teased out and improved for
subsequent years. These discussions were a great opportunity to network with colleagues from
other institutes and to develop collaborations while discussing activities being undertaking at the
Dublin School of Creative Arts.

My own presentation took place on the second day of the conference under the Design
Management and Professional Practice theme. The research presented represented the
hypothesis and contribution the the literature from my PhD research and was a wonderful
opportunity to present and discuss the findings with an international audience. “Towards a
Design-led Entrepreneurial Framework” discussed previously unidentified link between the design
and entrepreneurial processes. Tis framework is a design-specific model which could be utilised
by design entrepreneurs to bridge the identified entrepreneurial and business skills deficit in the
design industry and to develop the business understanding of the sector. As a researcher it is
important to understand the peer-review process. And to seek feedback form your international
colleagues. The learnings that go with the review process are invaluable to developing the
research further and to iterate the research question. The process forces the researcher to be self
critical and ultimately shapes the research outlook and produces more defined and robust
answers.