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Come and experiment on us!

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS will bring together a huge resource of design researchers for three full days. It will be a gathering of professionals from across Europe and the world with opportunities to undertake research interventions, observation or other activities, as an integral part of the conference.

We are excited to have three research projects that will exploit the possibilities this conference raises running throughout the three days.


RP1: 2464 – Playing with uncertainty. Experiential design and sensemaking for radical futures

This research proposal seeks to explore and report on individual and collective responses to a design intervention or provocation using design fiction and experiential futures tools and methods.

By deliberately invoking uncertainty – an amorphous concept that expresses both the probability that certain assumptions made during design are incorrect as well as acknowledging the potential influence of unknown facts on future states and therefore the possibility of intended and unintended consequences – we are experimenting with the premise that to design is to engage with an exploration of ideas towards the yet to be.

Our proposed experiments aim to extend the integration of design and futures for conference attendees by revealing and extending uncertainty and providing tools for making and prototyping future visions and the artefacts that may populate those visions.


RP2: 2437– Improvement Matrix. Prompting New Ways of Thinking about Knowledge Exchange

The improvement matrix is a framework used for improving knowledge exchange tools in order to develop engagement practices. It consists in a new improvement practice, in which engagement practitioners collaboratively improve the functions, instructions and flexibility of tools to develop their own practices. This research aims to look at potential applications of the improvement matrix in other design practices to establish its quality and credibility.

In this research project, we will present the improvement matrix to delegates, and engage participants to provide critical feedback on the research claims presented in the framework. This can happen as a 1-on-1 or as a group discussion at any point in the conference to be negotiated with participants.

Participants will gain new knowledge on how to improve tools through reflecting on how the framework can be applied to their practices. The potential outputs will allow the researchers to reconsider certain elements of the framework.


RP3:  2413 – A Semiotic Rosetta Stone Research Project. Defining designer-centric semiotic practice

Like the historical Rosetta Stone, this research project will inform our objective to improve the communicational situation in designers’ understanding of pragmatic semiotic theory, to develop a designer-centric semiotic practice.

This research project will provide us with richer understanding of how a designer-centric reframing of Peirce’s semiotic theory could manifest itself. The project will run throughout the duration of the conference with design delegates opting to take part through informed consent.

You hold in your hands this semiotic probe which is a variation of a cultural probe. Once completed by delegates, it will help us to construct a body of sensory data to address the following research questions:

  • How much of designers’ tacit knowledge can be related to Peircean semiotic theory across a range of design disciplines?
  • What terminology do designers use to describe how they are communicating visually within their work?
  • How many of these designer-centric terms map to Peircean terminology?

From the sensory data we collect from this probe, we aim to discover a range of designers’ own tacit language which is equivalent to aspects of Peircean semiotic theory. This data will then inform future collaborative research to define how Peirce’s complex terminology can be explained using a designer-centric meta-language.


For an early preview, click on this teaser link > – the full probe will be available in your delegate bag at Conference