Reflection and Documentation in Practice-led Design Research

Authors: Maarit Mäkelä, Nithikul Nimkulrat

peer-reviewed conference paper, 2011

Practice-led research has been under debate for nearly three decades. One of the major issues of this form of research concerns how the researchers who are also the artists/designers can reflect on and document their creative processes in relation to their research topic. In this article, we review and discuss reflection and documentation in practice-led design research through four doctoral research projects completed at the Aalto University School of Art and Design. The cases come from craft related fields, i.e. from ceramics, glass, jewellery and textiles. This article poses twofold questions: firstly, it examines the role of creative processes and their outputs in practice-led research context and secondly, the role of documentation and reflection of the creative processes and products in the studies. In conclusion, documentation in practice-led research context can function as conscious reflection on and in action. Any means of documentation, whether it is diary writing, photographing or sketching, can serve as a mode of reflection.

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Suggested Citation: Mäkelä, M. & Nimkulrat, N. (2011). Reflection and documentation in practice-led design research. In Proceedings of the 4th Nordic Design Research Conference (Nordes 2011: Making Design Matter) (pp. 120-128). Helsinki, Finland: Aalto University School of Art and Design.