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what this research is about...

I added a string of items, keywords, to the header for this blog in the hope that they would start to define to others, and myself, where my research was heading.

Note that this blog is as much, if not more, for me than for the other. I am aware that it will be important down the line to publish my research and having the blog as an outlet for that work will become more important too. For now, however it is more a reflective tool. I still keep notebooks which anything can go into, this blog is, believe it or not, a refinement of the material which goes into those notebooks.

With this doctoral research I want to investigate an idea which came out of my Masters research. That idea is that..

as communication designers, we don't know what we do.

Now this is a very provocative, loose and easily attacked statement, but I want to hold it for a while... because I cannot actually articulate what my research is about and I can only, at this moment, make statements which sort-of 'chuck darts' at that idea... after a bit of dart throwing a picture begins to emerge. So, once again, be warned, this blog is very much 'research in progress' it is a working tool to hold some of these ideas up to the light and see what happens... in that way this blog, and this research, is design (see Glanville for design as research)

so the idea is

if we view the transformative activity of communication design as a social practice, and we view it as an activity in which all parties are focused on some manifold aspect/view/issue/ambition/desire, then the act that transpires is not 'known'. That act is not described in the current theoretical design canon. (Well it is hardly described, it is not a dominant 'model' for practice, it is a slippery sometimes assumed, sometimes disregarded, often ignored model for practice. However, for me, it seems like one of the most important, and it seems that it has important abilities to allow the development of a more socially sustainable form of communication design practice.) That act that occurs, the event of design, can be seen as a creative act from an insightful individual... I would like to take some alternative theories which might, if applied to this act, describe it as a transformative process whereby knowledge we don't know we already have is revealed through the transformative and enabling activity of engaging with a technology (writing, talking, making) which through it agency allows us to disarm our rational 'I know' selves and welcome in the unsaid, unborn, unmade other into the known world.

Now I hope this doesn't sound like summoning, but I know that it does. So; alchemy, witchcraft, magic, access to power, tapping into the unconscious, archetypal knowledge, implicity knowledge, the rift between natural human and artificial human, the cyborg... all these aspects are there, and, as such, it is a direct contradiction to the 'design as science' methodology a lot of communication deisgners long for.