Multiple representations in design: fostering creativity and collaboration

ECCE, NCTL Learning and Conference Centre, The University of Nottingham, 7 September 2016

Flore Barcellini, Ass. Prof., CRTD, Le Cnam Paris & Françoise Détienne, Res. Prof., CNRS, Interdisciplinary Institute on Innovation, Paris

Research on design activities as processes of (co-)construction of representations has addressed many issues, such as the nature of these representations (external/internal, levels of abstraction, degrees of precision, imagery/verbal-textual, dynamic/static, temporal/spatial…) and their functions with respect to the design as well as the collaborative process. This panel will discuss the construction and use of multiple representations in relation to technologies of visualisation and simulation for supporting the design process.

Representations and visualisations are critical in design: 

  • to foster creativity processes (ideation)
  • to support the participatory approach in design with multiple stakeholders

Whilst the focus of the panel will be on multiple representations in design for fostering creativity and collaboration, we propose to address this by taking into account additional issues relating to:

  • Design domains. To what extent does the nature of the artefact introduce specificities in the corresponding design activities, and, more specifically, in the construction of multiple representations?  As the three panelists have conducted research in various design domains (Architecture, software, Service), this will be an occasion for comparing perspectives on design.
  • Digital/physical nature of external supports.  Whereas developing digital tools has been a main focus of research on supporting construction of representations, there is nowadays a “physical turn”, e.g. FabLabs. To what extent could hybridisation between digital and physical tools be an interesting direction for future research and practice in design?
  • Scale of the social aspect. Design of complex systems currently often concerns multiple stakeholders, social platforms, multiparty services, and technology mediated interaction between users with different roles. Designers need to understand the context and this variety of users and service providers, propose early design ideas to all of them, and provide opportunities to co-design. In many cases this requires many different representations to communicate with all and to allow all to understand, react, propose, and assess the early envisioning.

Panelists are:

  • Stéphane Safin, University Paris 8, France 
  • Helen Sharp, Open University, UK
  • Roberta Tassi, Instituto Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Conference venue

National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) Learning and Conference Centre
Triumph Road

telephone: +44 (0) 115 872 2195