THE DESIGNER AND THE SCIENTIST: THE ROAD TO INSPIRE TRANSDISCIPLINARY SYNERGIES
DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Gatto, Gionata; McCardle, John Richard
Institution: Loughborough Design School
Section: Preparing Students for Cross-dsciplinarity
It is essential for the contemporary design practitioner to meet the complex challenges that define
modern knowledge-based economies. Within both the professional and educational context, being
effective requires broad analytical skills and an adaptive attitude to learning. Developing such
knowledge to include a deeper understanding of science, technology, and society, and how the
interplay of these domains influences culture and politics, has become crucial.
Transdisciplinary engagement relies on the ability to draw together observations from a broader range
of subject matter than currently employed in the core of most design curricula. Within a design
educational context this is often assimilated through a problem-solving approach to learning, but at
practitioner level it is often a far less systematic route to take. The case study presented here illustrates
that Designers would benefit from learning about creative forms of practice-based participatory action
as a prerequisite to engaging in transdisciplinary collaborative projects.
This paper provides an insight into funded research that entailed a designer establishing a synergistic
relationship with a natural science institution. The work reports on the transdisciplinary collaboration
and the interventions of design thinking within a standardized cycle of scientific enquiry that
supported the pursuit of plant science research. The outcome provided artefacts for public engagement
and the representation of future scenarios for botanical concepts as a way to obtain mutual benefits for
the designer, the scientific partners and the social demographic audience.