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Design Science Journal
Papers

Research through design as a teaching tool

Research through design as a teaching tool

Year: 2010

Section: RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B

Author: Loy, Jennifer; Ancher, Simon

Section: RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Pages: 492-497

Abstract

For an academic in an applied, professional area of study, such as Industrial Design or Engineering,
the competing interests of teaching, administration and the demands of research are compounded by
the need to maintain a realistic understanding of current practice.
A ‘research through design’ model of teaching by example, and involving students in ongoing, real
world projects, is illustrated by the work of award winning designer Simon Ancher, the Academic
Director of a degree in Environmental Design (Furniture). A study of his projects demonstrates how
professional practice and teaching can intertwine to the advantage –and possible disadvantage - of
both students and lecturers. Ancher’s work is on occasion initiated by briefs set for students,
demonstrating creative working practice to tight constraints in the studio and construction workshops
in action. Ancher also undertakes commissions that involve pushing the boundaries of his
understanding of materials and form, which he works on alongside the students, discussing with them
ideas and development as he goes, and including them in experimental form making.
This paper analyses Ancher’s practice as it impacts the students and the quality of teaching. Using
specific examples of work, it tracks the development of the designs, the involvement of the students
and the outcomes. This approach to maintaining relevance and currency in professional practice as a
basis for teaching is discussed and its advantages, disadvantages and limitations outlined for
academics in related fields.

Keywords: Professional practice, research teaching nexus, batch production, creative thinking

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ds conferenceE&PDE 2010: ENGINEERING AND PRODUCT DESIGN EDUCATION 2010

E&PDE 2010: ENGINEERING AND PRODUCT DESIGN EDUCATION 2010The 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education will take place 2-3 September 2010, and will be organised by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway in partnership with the Design Education Special Interest Group (DESIG) of the Design Society and the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). The conference in 2010 will address the relationship between design education and design research. This year's conference theme, "When...

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