Graduate Students Workshop

Play, make, learn – Design research methods in the humanities and social sciences 

By Dr. Mariza Dima

On Friday, March 11, 2016, Dr. Mariza Dima from the Queen Mary University of London organized workshop on research methods in social sciences and humanities. Workshop was intended for graduate students, especially those involved in visual arts and design.

During the interactive workshop Dr Dima described a variety of hands-on methods used by designers to help them think about a problem or envisage an alternative possible future when there is not a problem to be solved per se. These methods enable creative thinking through making, offer a visual representation of the thought process and facilitate the intuitive process of analysis and synthesis that is inherent in the design process. 

During workshop, a variety of design methods based on play and making was presented and explained, bringing examples from Dr Dima’s own work. These methods are nowadays used widely in collaboration with the end users who are not trained in design but are considered experts in the area for which the design decisions will be made. Playful design methods have the potential to enable researchers outside the design field to identify patterns, synthesize not only solutions but also possible futures, offer a better and deeper understanding of the research area, and by requiring hands-on action, employing the art of making, provide another lens, that of enactment through which we can rethink and refine the research questions. 

This workshop was organized by Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Psychology Program.