The Centre for Design Research (CDR), a hub for excellence in design and creative industries research, hosted in Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa — AUT School of Art & Design has launched on the 1st December 2021, with its website showcasing research from across the disciplines of Art & Design.
The strategic research centre brings together designers, artists, makers, curators and critical writers working across a broad range of disciplines. It features the work of both doers and thinkers in contemporary design practice and theory, fostering cross-disciplinary conversations. At its heart is the guiding principle that shared research leads to new research; and new research leads to better, more engaging teaching and learning.
Associate Head of School of Art & Design (Research) Mandy Smith says the launch of the Centre is significant. “Connection is vital in our School. We are engaged with makers and making, connecting academia to industry, so that research can make a difference in the wider world through writing, writers, design, painting and pixels, the hand-made and the automated. Through our projects, public engagement and published research, we seek to challenge and redefine what it means to be a designer.
“The projects we showcase through the CDR have a strong commitment to inclusion and diversity. They intersect: between design and art; science and technology; Māori, Pacific Indigenous knowledge and world views. They connect with communities and celebrate the diversity, culture and methodologies of indigenous design practice.”
Academic staff within Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa design, exhibit and/or publish their work internationally. This can take the form of journal articles, book chapters, solo and group exhibitions, live performances, and curatorial projects. The Centre of Design Research builds on these areas of strength by championing our practice-based design researchers and increasing the visibility of their research. The Centre will support colleagues in a number of ways including PhDs, event funding, research bid development and running symposia and specialist design lectures. The School is developing a forward-facing approach to design research that challenges the status quo and prompts the re-thinking of assumptions.
It is hoped the Centre will help highlight the ways design contributes to society by challenging and questioning the way things are made, discussed, practiced, described and therefore understood. “Through both informal dialogue and more disciplined and structured engagements, the CDR will help interrogate the design relationships within the School and how they relate to our wider cultural, social
and political milieu,” says Smith.