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Frame Your Methods


24 October, 2016, 1400 24 Oct – 1600 Oct 25
AHO Conference Centre


1400 – 1600 Oct 24 and 0900 – 1600 Oct 25

Workshop convener: Henry Mainsah

This workshop aims to provide participants with a “hands on” introduction on how to analyze and reflect on the role of the design methods and techniques they use in their everyday research and practice. In design-related disciplines students and researchers use a wide variety of techniques and methods (drawing, sketching, model making, photography, video making, mapping etc.) to think, create, and communicate. However, a major challenge they face is how to reflect on, analyze, and give accounts of the means by which these practices contribute to knowledge making, from a methodological point of view. In this workshop, participants will learn to develop analytical concepts and techniques for reflecting methodologically on the role of visual practices in the production of knowledge in their practice and research.

Learning goals:

  • Greater understanding of the links/disruptions/challenges between concepts of visual methodology and practices of inquiry and design
  • Exposure to new ways of looking at/understanding/reflecting on their visual practices
  • Hands-on experience in analyzing visual materials collected from their research and practice
  • Hands-on experience in giving methodological accounts of participant’s research and practice


  • The workshop will start with presentations by the instructor(s) on core concepts and debates underlying interdisciplinary methods and how these apply to design-related discipline
  • Prior to the meetings, participants will be asked to collect the different types of visual artefacts created as part of their research/practice (sketches, drawings, photographs, videos, physical models, maps, computer-generated images, artefacts etc.). They would also have been assigned a series of readings in preparation.
  • Participants will participate in hands-on exercises to analyze the methods and techniques that they use in their everyday research or practice
  • Participants will participate in hands-on exercises to give accounts of their practices supported by methodological reflections

The workshop will be particularly relevant for PhD students and researchers interested in addressing issues relating to the framing of research methods.

Workshop coordinators:

Henry Mainsah – Oslo School of Architecture and Design/University of Warwick, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies

Jessica Hemmings – National College of Art and Design, Dublin

Annette Markham – Aarhus University, Dept. of Digital Design and Information Studies

Nerea Calvillo – University of Warwick, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies

We are looking forward to your attendance. I have compiled a reading list and a little assignment for all participants.


  • Write a 1-2 page methods outline of your research project. The outline should include the following:
  • A short summary of your project theme
  • A short description of your project’s research methods
  • What methodological challenges do you face in your project?
  • Give 2 literature references that you think best frame your project methodologically

Bring a printed copy of this outline with you to the first day of the workshop and send one copy to Henry Mainsah by email.

I have also compiled a short reading list for the workshop. Read Gray & Malins ch. 1-4 and Cresswell ch. 1 before we meet on Monday. 

Cresswell, J. (2014) Research design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. London: Sage. Fourth Edition

Crouch, C. & Pearce, J. (2012) Doing Research in Design. London: Berg.

Ewing, S., McGowan, J., Speed, C., & Bernie, V. (2011) Architecture and Field/Work. London: Routledge.

Gray, C., & Malins, J. (2016). Visualizing research: A guide to the research process in art and design. Routledge.

Sullivan, G. (Ed.). (2010). Art practice as research: Inquiry in visual arts. London: Sage.