Research Through Design Fiction: Narrative in Real and Imaginary Abstracts

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Research Through Design Fiction: Narrative in Real and Imaginary Abstracts
Mark Blythe – Northumbria University Newcastle, UK

Abstract: This paper reflects on the uses of prototypes in “Research through Design” and considers “Design Fiction” as a technique for exploring the potential value of new design work. It begins with an analysis of Research through Design abstracts in the ACM digital library and identifies an emerging language and structure of papers in this emerging field. The abstracts: frame a problem space, introduce a study, often involving the deployment of a prototype, and conclude with considerations, reflections and discussion. This format is then pastiched in a series of design fictions written for a project investigating new and emerging forms of reproduction in Art. The fictions take the form of “imaginary abstracts” which summarize findings of papers that have not been written about prototypes that do not exist. It is argued that framing concept designs as fictional studies can provide a space for research focused critique and development.

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