Original Application to the European Academy of Design (external link) as a Special Interest Group
We much appreciate and admire the creative spirit, sense of personal care, organisational effectiveness, and sheer hard work that went into the recent highly successful EAD06 conference in Bremen. However, there is a growing and widespread feeling that external pressures from research funding agencies and the attendant expediencies of organisation are tending to frustrate the design community's ability to fulfill the raison d'être of its conferences. The above group sees this predicament as an interesting and worthwhile design challenge. We are a self-selected working group that will seek to identify the salient issues, aims and deep purpose/s of holding design conferences such as those of the EAD. We will begin by exploring the many tensions between the ideals and realities of conference design. Our first meeting will take place at the Royal Society of Arts in London, at 12.30pm on 10 June 2005 (kindly hosted by Naomi). As we have yet to meet in any proper way we have not established any clear terms of reference. No subsequent action, organisational method, or ultimate outcome has been formally agreed.

Possible Outcomes

A possible long-term outcome of this group might be the formulation of novel paradigms, benchmarks, protocols, and/or toolkits for the design of design conferences in the future. The role of shared questions and how they are validated, framed, disseminated, embodied, addressed, re-framed, answered, and/or applied may therefore be of particular interest to us. The use of new or under-exploited technology is also likely to prove important in enabling busy professionals to achieve their many, sometimes disparate or even contradictory goals. It is also possible that appropriate management techniques, research methodologies, and psychological insights may help us to devise novel approaches to conference design that will work within the constraints of time, money, logistics, and the need for recognition and approval by the academies, corporations, and other fund-giving agencies. If successful, it is very likely that we eventually feel compelled to organise real events in order to test out our hypotheses and the effectiveness of our designs.