Critical Studies in Art and Design

Critical engagement and contextualizing practice are initial elements to analytically challenge a designer’s elastic and creative mind and to foster a process of staking one’s claims with intellectual rigor. Embarking from a variety of pertinent readings, students are encouraged to reflect, evaluate and critique classical theorems and controversial issues as conflicting hypotheses. Multiple reflections of cultural and critical context from different angles generate paradigm shifts, change viewpoints, deepen understanding and express the embodiment of tacit and implicit experiences. This process critically leads toward conceptual design thinking methods and the applied integration of experimental knowledge. The multifaceted perspectives are informed by semiotics, aesthetics, theories of creativity, theories of perception, cultural studies, sociological principles, art and design history, costume history and fashion theory.  

Design Research

Design Research entails critical as creative engagement taking in two conceptional as contextual approaches: the disegno concept as formulated in the Italian Renaissance and the design turn, proclaimed at the beginning of the 21st century. The as congenial considered concepts comprise both, design as embodiment of all intellectual processes and creative principles and as an integrative force and its synthetic and interdisciplinary potential generating and imparting knowledge. Craftsmanship and the various ways of thinking are considered being fundamentally interconnected capacities of futureoriented, innovation-driven design work.   Design Research requires Denkräume forming, ‘thing-ing’ and thinking spaces: encouraging, even provoking diversity, lateral exploration, experimental investigations, controversial sense-making and knowledge spans with a particular, reflective focus on process structures in art and design. Research about design considers research as and through design comprising varies ways of thinking and interacting with speculation and situated knowledge. The internationally recognized lecture series „artifacts”, accompanied by the upcoming eJournal „artefakte.online“ provide theme-oriented inspiring impulses for students, educators and researchers.  

HEED: Institute for Human Engineering & Empathic Design Pforzheim

In conjunction with EngineeringPF, the DesignPF Research Institute HEED operates as a pioneering hub, as an innovation laboratory incorporating transdisciplinary design research, multidisciplinary skills and transfer knowledge in order to challenge empathic, holistic interactions, to strengthen a (joint) venturing culture and to encourage entrepreneurial activities in the fields of design, technology and engineering. Find out more!