The Art of Research IV: Making, Reflecting, and Understanding (Nov 2012, Helsinki)

Dates: 28-29 November 2012
Location: Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture; Helsinki, Finland
Submission deadline for abstracts: 10 June 2012

While the power of artistic imagination is widely recognized, the exploration of artistic and designerly methods of knowledge acquisition underway in academia has only just become accepted by other professional communities of researchers and practitioners inhabiting the academy. Building on contemporary discourse regarding notions of practice-led research, the Art of Research Conference 2012 aims to explore the relations that can be constructed between making and critical reflection, and how these enable artistic and designerly practices to be characterized as art and design, or artistic or designerly research. Given how different fields of creative practice may be constructing these relations in different ways — e.g, in methods, tools and skills — the main aim of the event is to explore how these fields might relate to and influence each other.

This aim is guided by following questions:

•  How do different art and design practices utilize artistic and designerly methods in practice-led research?
•  How do artistic and designerly approaches to knowledge production enrich or impoverish the professional art and design-related practices of those who engage in them?
•  How are  artistic and designerly processes of critical reflection and intervention be productively synthesized in practice-led research?
•  How can different forms of art, craft and design contribute new knowledge and understanding and how do they function in the distribution of knowledge?
•  How can critical reflection be interpreted and understood as embodied in practice-led research?

Notwithstanding the above, it is appreciated that these questions might stimulate other questions that potential contributors could see as productively challenging or could lead to expanding these questions. Such responses are most welcome.

The conference will not be restricted to conventional paper presentation, and each conference session space will be designed to facilitate diverse modes of exchange; for example, between oral presentation and works of art and design. The aim of the event is to continue and update the discussions concerning the relationship between art and design practices and knowledge, in terms of both content and modes of knowledge production and exchange. We invite abstracts (350 words max) by doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and academics addressing the following:

(1) Explorative art/design projects. These types of papers must be submitted together with creative works and must contribute to understanding of how the visual and the textual are unified in research. Each submission must also include a separate and brief description (80 words max) of the creative work and visual material, such as photographs or video (digital formats only, totally 10M max.), and what is required displaying this material.

(2) Methodological and theoretical questions related to the conference theme.

All contributions will be double-blind peer reviewed. To facilitate the review process, authors should make an effort to ensure that their identity is not revealed by information contained in their submission. For example, references to a contributor’s work in an abstract should not name the contributor. Instead, for example, replace the author’s proper name by the term “Author”, including any bibliographic data and footnotes. Additionally, paper titles should be removed.

This is the fourth in the Art of Research event series, the first of which took place in Helsinki 2005, and the first to be hosted by EMPIRICA, a research group based in the Department of Design, Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture, working in co-operation with the university’s Department of Film, Television and Scenography.

The paper and exhibition proposals should be submitted via the conference system. For more information, please contact conference coordinator Svetlana Usenyuk ( For the paper template and other practical details, see the conference web site at The conference fee is 150€ (100€ for students) and includes conference attendance, lunches and refreshments.

10 April 2012 / First call for papers
10 June 2012 / Deadline for abstracts
25 June 2012 / Review notice of abstracts
1 September 2012 / Deadline for full papers
1 October 2012 / Review notice and referee feedback
1 September – 10 November 2012 / Registration and payment
30 October 2012 / Submission for final papers
13 November 2012 / Arrival of exhibits
28-29 November 2012 / Conference

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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