“Research Practice Dialogue” – Guest Lecture Series

“Research” and “Practice” were arguably the most important words in academic design discourse in the last 20 years. These were spoken often in
the context of developing design research at the University. Currently there are a number of models established: Research Through Design,
Practice-Led/Based Research, Project-Grounded Research, and Constructive Research. They all share the ideas that designing is a form of inquiry
which has its own particular methods that should be capitalized. Secondly, they see that designing should form a (major) part of design research and
should generate trustworthy knowledge to serve and renew practice.

In SS 2015, we intend to look more closely at designing that engages with specialised scientific knowledge or emerging technology in the context of
interdisciplinary research and development. We go after the following questions:

•       How does design(er) deal with this? What methods are used?
•       What does design(er) contribute? What roles are played?
•       What knowledge is generated? What are the substantial outcomes?

Moderation, Invitation and Organization: Prof. in Dr. Rosan Chow, Industriedesign, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, chow@muthesius.de

Student participation is credited by Kunst- und Designdiskurs.


  1. May, 2015

Alastair Macdonald

Glasgow School of Art, UK


Negotiating Design in Sceptical Territory: Research for Healthcare



Design’s great weakness is in its own hubris; can we test Design’s legitimacy in sceptical territory? Recent co-design initiatives demonstrate successful healthcare innovation and improvement without the need for Designers, potentially wrong-footing Design. Through case studies, Macdonald explores Design’s research value in the healthcare domain, where the RCT is regarded as the gold standard for scientific evidence. Design’s agency is also discussed in eliciting different kinds of evidence from stakeholders through ‘building into being’ by iterative prototyping, proving stakeholders with tangible new means to think with and experience how different and better things could be. Design’s shortcomings are also addressed.



Professor Alastair Macdonald is Senior Researcher, School of Design at The Glasgow School of Art. Trained as a designer, he headed the Product Design Engineering programme at GSA from 1996 to 2006,, before pursing full-time design-led research within multidisciplinary healthcare teams. He publishes, reviews and lectures internationally, and supervises and examines PhDs.


  1. May, 2015

Tara Mullaney,

Umeå Institute of Design, Sweden


Context-Driven Design:

The complexity of conducting Constructive Design Research within Healthcare  



In this talk, I will present the work that I have done as a PhD student and design researcher within a 3 year, EU funded, project called PERT (Patient Experience of Radiation Therapy), in collaboration with the Radiotherapy Department at Norrlands University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden. I will present my research, including two design experiments, Taklandskap and ActivPPS, which were executed within this project, and discuss how my research context shaped the methods and theories I used as well as the type of design construction I engaged with. I will finish with a discussion of the concept of context-driven design and its core principles.



Tara Mullaney is a scientist-turned-designer that loves exploring emotions and experiences.  She holds degrees in social an

thropology and biology from MIT, cancer biology from Stanford University, and design from SAIC. Her work experience ranges from anti-cancer drug development to interaction design consulting, and she is currently writing her dissertation on cancer patients’ experiences during treatment.


  1. June, 2015

Katharina Bredies

UdK Berlin


Use as Design



In my lecture, I will present my practice-based doctoral design research project, completed in 2014, in which I investigate the design of unfamiliar interfaces to encourage design in use. I will start with an overview of the roles of designers and users in different design processes, and discuss social and radical constructivist viewpoints in design theory. I propose formal estrangement as a suitable design method, based on the pragmatist idea that it takes a „crisis of action“ to perceive new things. I will show research results including Wavecap, Undercover, Shuffle Sleeve and draw conclusions using ecological concept theory, actor-network theory, and Peircean semeiotics. The lecture will be held in German.



Katharina is a postdoctoral researcher at Universität der Künste, Berlin, and Borås School of Textiles in Sweden. She conducts research in human-computer interaction, electronic textiles, and design methodology. She is co-founder of Design Promoviert—a student-organized doctoral colloquium—and manager of the Design Research Network—an online forum for young researchers.


  1. June, 2015

Jon Rogers

University of Dundee, UK


Co-Designing the Future of our Digital Physical World



What digital world do we want? Locked in screen-based experiences for eternity? Or an interwoven digital and physical existence for and by people?  If we want the latter, we need to know how to design and live within it and have methods that place people at the heart of creation. So let¹s come together and ask ourselves how to co-design our digital future. In this talk, I will lay out the challenge of what a physical digital world can look like by investigating a centuries-old physical communication medium that has caused revolution and evolution, and quite literally re-written the future of humankind.



Professor Jon Rogers holds a personal chair in creative technology at the University of Dundee. He balances playful technologies with citizenship to find new ways to connect people with each other and with their data. He is passionate about the potential of an open physical web of things and his work includes collaborations with Mozilla, NASA, BBC R&D and the Met Office.


5. May 2015

In Focus

The main goal of the Muthesius University in Kiel is to promote art, design and spatial strategies via research and development projects as a focal point for work and intellectual debates. As the only art university in the State of Schleswig-Holstein, the Muthesius is not only a place to develop culturally relevant biographies but with its project studies also a place of particular experimentation and realisation. To a certain extent, the profile of the Master’s programme represents study courses and development possibilities for students unique in the Federal Republic of Germany.

“At the centre of the Muthesius University’s focus is art and design, the creative and productive. Around this centre there revolves the fundamental relationship between theory and practice. This reciprocal relationship is a permanent process, a circular movement around the centre held by art and design. It needs free space to move. Thus, the firt condition for art and design at our university is freedom! To study at the Muthesius is the desire to use this freedom to mature into an equally creative and productive personality. In this way, we can provide our students with personal biographies”, promises President Dr. Arne Zerbst.

Around 660 study places are currently spread across the study courses in Fine Arts, Fine Arts for Secondary School Teachers, Spatial Strategies, Communication Design and Industrial Design.


Training and education at the Muthesius are project-oriented. Students are encourage early to gain experience with real clients. The Project Office, the Publication Office and the Centre for Media are interdisciplinary departments which help students to complete their projects successfully.
By particpating in the excellence clusters the Muthesius University is one of the internationally visible and competitive research institutes contributing to the sustainability of research in Germany. Numerous cooperation partners at local, national and international level appreciate the Muthesius University’s interdisciplinary structure and the personal atmosphere of the class sizes of a maximum to 20 students – an excellent basis for discourse leading to innovation.


Each term, students and lecturers discuss national and international positions in art and design within the framework of interdisciplinary workshop weeks and internally organised, public symposia. International lecturers are always a part of these required courses. Young people from over 30 countries around the world come together in Kiel to study art and design. They make up 14 per cent of the student body, with an increasing tendency. This puts the Muthesius University above the national average.


In order to make the variety of the Muthesius University more informative, in addition to the »official« information pages (the coloured half of the website) there are over 30 weblogs (the white half of this website) updated by the individual study courses/departments themselves (in German only).



Winter semester 2023/24
Start of semester: 01.10.2023
End of semester: 31.03.2024
Start of classes: 23.10.2023
End of classes: 16.02.2024
(non-lecture period: 23.12.2023-7.1.2024)

Summer semester 2024
Start of semester: 01.04.2024
End of semester: 30.09.2024
Start of classes: 02.04.2024
End of classes: 19.07.2024