prof. Chris Dorsett

Professor of Fine Art,
Department of Arts,
School of Arts, Design and Social Sciences,
Northumbria University (UK)


Chris Dorsett is an artist and exhibition curator whose career has been built on cross-disciplinary collaborations with collection-holding institutions such as the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Royal Swedish Armoury, Stockholm. His curatorial activities also include fieldwork residencies in the Amazon (organised with the Centre for Economic Botany, Kew) and the walled village of Kat Hing Wai (commissioned by the Arts Development Council of Hong Kong). Dorsett seeks to resituate the changing aesthetic and political ambitions of the visual arts within the widest range of historical and scientific contexts and, as a Professor of Fine Art at Northumbria University, he continues to interrogate museological claims about the construction of knowledge through exhibition display. He publishes with Routledge for the museums studies sector and was recently commissioned to lead Cast Contemporaries, an exhibition about the fate of anatomical and sculpture cast collections in art schools (2012 Edinburgh Arts Festival).

At a moment’s notice, according to the pleasure of the holder: the semiotics of paper

For contemporary graphic artists the detachment of the ocular-centric ‘virtual’ from the sensory pleasures of the hand is accepted as a necessary consequence of moving one’s attention from a computer screen to a printed page. In the Art and Design sector we continue to celebrate well-made products but enthusiastically embrace the creative restlessness of ongoing deferral made possible by electronic ‘information’, an enthusiasm that encourages us to write many more emails than we would letters and build a series of websites when, in the past, we would have curated a single exhibition. As a creative practitioner whose research is realised primarily through drawing and photography I wrestle with the potent finiteness of blank sheets of paper on a day-to-day basis and it is the redefinition of this experience in relation to the indefiniteness of digital technology that will serve as the topic of my presentation.

My title quotes the British political economist David Ricardo (1772 – 1823) who argued that the introduction of paper money in late 18th century Britain would lead to uncontrollable fluctuations in the value of currency unless the scope to convert each ‘note’ into metal was, for the bearer of these new fangled sheets of printed paper, executed on demand – that is, ‘at a moment’s notice, according to the pleasure of the holder’ (Barry, 2007: 68). It is difficult not to see parallels to our current situation. For Ricardo, paper money severed the representational force of a signifier from the intrinsic value of that which was signified and this same semiotic rupture, I suggest, shapes the virtual and artefactual tensions of today (see, for example, Rawsthorn 2013)

However, the literary historian Kevin Barry (1997, 2007) has linked the deferred ‘promise to pay’ of the first paper pounds to the open-ended character of the 18th century creative imagination and my presentation will explore this same symbiosis of monetary and aesthetic exchange in our own period of economic fluctuation. I will also offer scope for creative reflection on curatorial treatments of printed currency at Princeton University Library (Stahl, 2010) and the coin and banknote displays at Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum. This latter collection represents numismatic problem-solving and innovation in the widest geographic and historical contexts offering, it is my contention, endless opportunities to model the restlessness of the creative imagination in general.

And so: do Ming Dynasty circulating treasure notes raise important questions about graphic images on a computer screen? My answer will be yes, and these questions help us set out parameters for a contemporary semiotics of paper in which, following debates about touch-based experiences in David Howes’ Empire of Senses (2005) and my own Things and Theories: the unstable presence of exhibited objects (2011), the ‘pleasure of the holder’ must play a significant role.

Barry, K. (2007) ‘The Aesthetics of Paper Money: national differences during the period of enlightenment and romanticism’, in Duff, D. & Jones C. (eds) Scotland, Ireland and the Romantic Aesthetic, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell, pp.55-76.

Paper Money and English Romanticism, Times Literary Supplement, No. 4899, 21 February 1997: 14-16.

Dorsett, C. (2011) ‘Things and Theories: the unstable presence of exhibited objects’. In Dudley, S., Barnes, A. J., Binnie, J., Petrov, J., & Walklate, J. (eds) The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation, London and New York: Routledge.

Howes, D (2005) Empire of the Senses. Oxford: Berg

Rawsthorn, A. (2013) Hello World: where design meets life, London: Hamish Hamilton.

Stahl, A. (curator) (2010) Money on Paper: Bank Notes and Related Graphic Arts from the Collections of Vsevolod Onyshkevych and Princeton University, Leonard Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, Firestone Library, Princeton University.



prof. David Frohlich

Digital World Research Centre
University of Surrey

davidDavid Frohlich is Director of Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey and Professor of Interaction Design. He joined the Centre in January 2005 to establish a new research agenda on user-centred innovation in digital media technology.  Current work includes a mixture of PhD and Research Council projects exploring a variety of new media futures relating to digital storytelling, personal media collections, and community news and arts (  His recent 2012 book with Risto Sarvas contains the first history of personal digital photography: From snapshots to social media: The changing picture of domestic photography. Prior to joining Digital World, David worked for 14 years as a senior research scientist at HP Labs, conducting user studies to identify requirements and test new concepts for mobile, domestic and photographic products. This allowed him to pursue ongoing research interests in tangible interfaces to computing, new media design, and the global digital divide. Some of this work was documented in two books entitled Audiophotography: Bringing photos to life with sounds, and Contextual Innovation: Creative approaches to innovation in emerging markets.

David has a PhD in psychology from the University of Sheffield and post-doctoral training in Conversation Analysis from the University of York. He has also worked as a Human Factors Consultant and Research Psychologist, and held visiting positions at the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art, and the Department of Psychology, University of York.  He is currently Visiting Professor at Manchester Business School and is founding editor of the international journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing.

Framing the design of new media experiences

Many modern products and services involve the presentation of digital media content of various kinds. Sometimes this content defines the form and function of the product, as with televisions, music players or e-books. In other cases the relationship is less clear, as with smart phones or computers, which are really conduits for multiple types of media and experiences.

In this talk, I examine the relationship between products and media, especially in the early stages of product design when their properties are fluid and functionalities are still being defined. I argue for attention to five key factors which frame the design of new media experiences, and shape their character and meaning. These include Form, Reason, Audience, Material and Extent (FRAME). To illustrate this frame-work, I show how the factors interact in the design of three digital photography systems originating from both corporate and university research labs.  These include an interactive desk for playing the sound of printed photographs, a live digital storytelling system, and a kind of visual twitter display.  In each case, it is possible to see how small changes in framing shift the resulting design and experience, and how the trick of good design is to find an alignment of factors that ‘works’ for users. The complexity of interactions between factors often leads to surprises in the behavior of such systems, and suggests an open-minded exploratory approach to their design.

dr. Stephan Wensveen

Associate Professor
University of Southern Denmark

stephanStephan Wensveen (1970) is Associate Professor Interaction Design (since 2011) at the Mads Clausen Institute, University of Southern Denmark. He studied, educated and researched Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. His research on the relationship between emotions, expressivity and product design started in 1999 and resulted in a PhD thesis, which is seen by the design research community as an canonical example of Research through Design. The main contributions were a validated prototype of an ‘emotionally intelligent alarm clock’ and a theoretical framework for interaction called ‘Interaction Frogger’.  He has enjoyed to be part of, and be of influence on internationally renowned design research groups, i.e., the Delft ID-StudioLab (lead by Kees Overbeeke, Pieter Jan Stappers, Paul Hekkert & David Keyson), the Eindhoven Designed Intelligence and Designing Quality in Interaction group (lead by Loe Feijs, Kees Overbeeke and Caroline Hummels) and the Sønderborg Participatory Innovation Research centre (lead by Jacob Buur).

His interest is in using the power of design to integrate research, education and innovation, which he demonstrated as project leader for the / and as initiator and research director of Wearable Senses and the Dutch nationally funded project on Smart Textile Services. He has any of his papers are part of the standard curricula in interaction design schools and he is co-author of the book ‘Design Research through Practice’. In 2011 he expanded his horizon on multi-disciplinary design, when he joined the Sønderborg Participatory Innovation Research group of Prof. Jacob Buur at MCI to focus on the Aesthetics of Participation.

Design Research through Practice. From the Lab, Field, and Showroom

This presentation talks about ‘Constructive Design Research’ as brought forward in the co-authored book ‘Design Research Through Practice. From the Lab, Field, and Showroom’ (Koskinen, Zimmerman, Binder, Redström and Wensveen, 2011). Multiple examples will illustrate this type of design research that highly values imagining and building new things while describing and explaining these constructions. The basis for the book and the presentation are three observations:

* Methods in design research proliferate, but there are three main methodological approaches: Lab, Field and Showroom.
* These approaches share a theoretical and philosophical basis that sets them apart from earlier attempts to turn design into a science.
* Design is not only the object of research, but the very means of doing it.
This last observation will be deepened by focusing on the roles that prototypes and the act of prototyping can play in design research. In this presentation we will celebrate the diversity of how designing can generate knowledge in design research.

Part 1:


Part 2:


prof.dr.  Xiaoyou He

Prof.dr.  Xiaoyou He
Vice President of Nanjing University of Arts, PHD Supervisor

  • 何晓佑2Deputy Director of Committee of Design Education, Ministry of Higher Education
  • Research Fellow of China Institute of Chinese Art
  • Research Fellow at Public Art in China National Art Academy
  • Director of Committee of Design Research, China Industrial Design Association
  • Deputy Director of Committee of Art & Design, China Association of Higher Education
  • Member of Industrial Design Art, China Artists’ Association
  • Vice President of Association of Industrial Design in Jiangsu Province
  • Executive President of Association of Industrial Designers in Jiangsu Province
  • Director of Committee of Art & Design, Artists Association in Jiangsu Province
“Interaction” & “Fusion”

Since Bill Moggridge of IDEO formally proposed the concept of “interaction design” in 1990, it has become a hot topic in design thinking and methods.

Interaction design seems to be an alternative concept to ‘product design’. Traditionally, product design concerns the function, structure, human factors, form and styling, color, environmental effect and other design elements such as technology, methods and means of achieving other functions. While interaction design emphasized on the interactive behaviors between product system and end-users, on the technical support to realize the defined functions and emotional communication between both interactive sides. These are believed to have the direct impact on the end users.

We have no doubt on the development of this concept as well as the changes it has caused. In the meanwhile, we would like to ask is this the most reasonable design idea?

Interaction design, is still emphasized on the interaction between ‘this’ and ‘that’. According to this, it is the interaction of two individuals. If we can change another way to think, if the problem we are going to solve is not the problem between ‘product ‘and ‘people’, it is the problem of ‘people themselves’, what it is now?

If we trace back to Chinese traditional wisdom of creation, there are a lot of ideas worthy of research on design thinking and methods.

  • Chinese traditional thought of the theory that ‘man is an integral part of nature’
  • Chinese traditional philosophy of ‘Yin Yang complementarity’
  • Chinese traditional artifact of ‘two is made of one’
  • Chinese traditional human relations of ‘a man of kindness is benevolent people’

In Chinese traditional culture, ‘you are among us and we are among you’ is much more recommended than ‘you and he’. This describes a ‘fusion’ state which is believed to inherit the spirit of ‘symbiotic harmony’.

By introducing Chinese traditional culture to modern design, we can focus on research on the ‘fusion state’ of people, product and environment. It will emphasize not on the interactive relations between people and product, but on the ‘fusion state’ of people and creations. All in all, it is not to design an object, but to design ‘people’ in order to create a fusion state of ‘great coordination’.

prof.dr. Xiangyang Xin

Dean, School of Design, Jiangnan University, China

2012621132616193Xin holds a PhD in Design from Carnegie Mellon University with research interests in interaction and service design, cultural studies, and product development. He looks at how design, both professionally and philosophically, contributes to transformations of lifestyles, businesses and societies. Xin is currently leading a “Redesign Design Education” movement in China. It aims to reform design education responding to the extending scope and evolving principles of design, from “logic of things to logic of behaviors.” Xin has internationally spoken and conducted workshops on interaction design and cultural innovation, served as a guest professor at different universities, actively served for several professionally communities including CIDA, IDSA, IXDC, IXDA. His professional practices covers a variety of industries with partners including United States Postal Services, Efficiency Unit of Hong Kong Government, P&G, Changhong, ASTRI (Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Ltd., Hong Kong), Philips and etc.

Intention, not just in the minds of Designers

While designers are expected to create future scenarios of people’s lives through objects, services and/or systems, it is important to recognize the role of intention in the realization and utilization of the things. Often people think that intentions locate in the minds of designers, and lead to the choices of problems to be addressed, things to be made and details that ensure things to be appreciated. It is true that designers’ intention play important roles in the creation of our material environment. What is not understood is that intentions are not independent things live the minds of designers, but outcomes of complex social interactions.

This lecture looks for sources intention, and searches for preliminary strategies for identifying attributes and functions of intention, not just in the creation but also the utilizations of man-made objects. Instead of providing developed understanding of intention, here the goal is to promote interests and conversations of issues surrounding intention.