Design Research Journal

Current 07: Critical Making: Theories, Models, and Frameworks

Issue 07 is designed to reflect a notion of design practice framed by a critical approach to making and engaging with users.

The issue features articles written around the subjects of material practices, design for behavior change, embodied practices, and sustainability and social innovation. Our invited authors in Current 07 include Lisa Groccott, from Parsons The New School, contributing “Make Known, Make Possible, Make Shift: the role of designing in behavior change”; Kate Fletcher, founder of the Slow Fashion movement, in a interview by Louise St. Pierre; and Garnet Hertz, Canada Research Chair, contributing “What is Critical Making?”

Emily Carr University faculty also submitted articles to this issue. They include: Keith Doyle, discussing the new research area Material Matters; Hélène Day Fraser, presenting a paper on the notion of Critical Use; and Louise St. Pierre, introducing DESIS Lab work at the university. A number of student papers on undergraduate and graduate research projects are also included in this issue.

Current 06: Prospects · Practices · Provocations

Issue 06 is designed to encourage the authors and readers to think about the design practice in terms of process, design wisdom and reflection. It features contributions by Liz Sanders, “The Fabric of Design Wisdom,” elaborating on established and emerging definitions of design wisdom and Cameron Tonkinwise, “Prototyping Risks when Desing is Dissapearing,” an essay on the roles of generative design and prototypes when “making futures.” Bonne Zabolotney reflects on the problematic and inconsistent account of Canadian design in her essay “Anonymity and Authenticity: Every Day Canadian Design” while Jorge Frascara elucidates why “evidence-based design” is accountable design, and Jonathan Aitken, Deb Shackleton and Guillermina Noël consider ethics in design for healthcare.

Amber Frid-Jimenez presented the “Studio for Extensive Aesthetics,” an artistic research lab at Emily Carr. Celeste Martin and Adam Cristobal contributed “Exploring the Verso Engine,” discussing the possibilities of 2D physics development platform for mobile interactive content. “The Story of Mineblock” by Haig Armen describes his exploration of designing a meta product.

Also included in this issue are papers by Scott Yu-Jan, “JOBO: System Drive Products through Upcycling” focusing on co-creative practices for sustainable products, Kristina Mok, “LifeBooster,” which reimagines wearable technology for heavy industry workers, Zoe Hardisty, “Radia,” which visualizes code structures in an immersive visualization tool built to represent complex data of call graphs, April Piluso, “Decoding the Restaurant,” presenting an application to access the nutritional values of prepared foods, and Victoria Lee, “Uplyft,” proposing a platform to connect people with primary lymphedema.

Current 05: Invocation · Intimation · Iteration

Current 05 is one of our most ambitious issues, being its core idea to explore dynamic principles and pacing in the sequence of content. The cover invites the reader to participate by re-arranging its elements into a unique composition. Our feature articles are introduced with dynamic titles and animations. A series of article layouts were done in HTML and explore the notion of dynamically building and re-composing the page as the reader swipes through and advances the text.

Current draws its power from a community of educators, practitioners, students, and staff engaged in new models and networks of innovation with educational partners from diverse sectors. We are explorers of the values and richness of human knowledge as well as agents of change and cross-disciplinary integration. A community of thinkers and makers, we seek to engage with complex ideas, situations and in so doing to speak to teams of experts, as well as to the very people who use our research outcomes.

About Current Journal

Current is a multi platform design journal that showcases creative, practice-based and applied research. It functions as a site for design researchers, design academics, students, professional designers, entrepreneurs, and the business community to reflect on contemporary design thinking, products and processes. Through a variety of forms and formats—interviews, case-studies, critical essays, reviews and photo documentation, we challenge researchers to represent their processes as iterative cycles of research and to skillfully navigate information-led and practice-led methodologies.

Within Emily Carr, Current provides a platform for research dissemination, peer-mentorship, and publication production to our undergraduate students that seeks to showcase the richness and texture of creative practice and research happening in our institution. It is a space where practice-based research as it is taught in our undergraduate curriculum reaches full circle through reflection and dissemination of outcomes and insights from our making. The most significant aspect of this project is that it helps shape a culture and a practice of design that extends making and reveals tacit and implicit knowledge through writing and reflection right from the start at the undergraduate level. And because Current permeates the curriculum, the platform is very accessible and it demystifies the process of contributing scholarship to our field.

The curricular anchors ofCurrent are two courses SOCS309 Design Research Methods, where students learn to write case studies of projects they are working on in studio courses, and DESN324 Publication Workshop, a studio design course where the making of Current print and digital publication happens every Spring. A selection of articles from SOCS309 are published in every issue.