On October 5, 2013 an international symposium of design researchers and practitioners met in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, to critique the North American Design PhD. The aim of this symposium was to bring together experienced and novice academics and practitioners who are interested in the future of the North American Design PhD, Design PhDs globally, and its relevance to the academy, the professions and the community.

Convened by Cameron Tonkinwise and Laurene Vaughan, this symposium brought together a breadth of expertise to discuss the topic. The methodology for the symposium was critical conversations. To facilitate these conversations a number of things have been done. Ten design researchers were invited to participate and to provide the basis for the initial conversations. A series of provocations were put forward by the convenors to facilitate the critique.

Due to the conversational nature of the event, participant numbers were capped at 50.

For more information please email camerontatcmu.edu or laurene.vaughanatrmit.edu.au

About the convenors

Cameron Tonkinwise is the Director of Design Studies at the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. He has a background in philosophy; his dissertation concerned the educational philosophies of Martin Heidegger. Cameron continues to research what designers can learn from philosophies of making, material culture studies and sociologies of technology. Cameron is facilitating the School of Design’s creation of a new Design Studies sequence of courses that better prepare designers for a wider scope of work and the more interdisciplinary challenges of 21st century societies. Cameron is also chairing the PhD Committee that is currently restructuring the School of Design’s PhD program. He has extensive experience with practice-based design research, having supervised and examined reflective practice and artifact-based research projects and written about the epistemologies particular to this kind of work. Cameron is also an Adjunct Professor to the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

Laurene Vaughan was the Nierenberg Chair, Distinguished Professor of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, 2012 – 2013. She was appointed as Associate Professor Design and Communication, in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. Since 2009 she has been Research Leader within the RMIT Design Research Institute, leading a community of inquiry into the Mediated City. Originally coming from an art and design education background with a major in sculpture, Laurene has melded a career of practicing artist, designer and educator in Australia and internationally. Her research focuses on the interactive and situated nature of human experience, particularly the ways that we create and articulate the experience of place through practice. Laurene is an experienced educator and for the past decade has focused on practice as a mode and methodology of research, particularly in relation to graduate degrees across a range of disciplinary contexts.