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RTD Ethos

‘Research through design’ (RtD) is a practice-based form of inquiry that is now widely adopted in humanities-based research cultures and beyond. However, questions as to how this form of inquiry is understood, validated, and disseminated are of current debate. In an attempt to progress this debate, a new international conference series entitled Research through Design (RTD) was created to support the dissemination of practice-based design research through a novel and experimental format.

The original aim of RTD was to foreground the materiality of design research, placing the artefacts of research practice centre stage. A second aim has been to create an environment that is purposefully and synergistically positioned for the presentation and discussion of ‘research through design’ practice. To this end a novel format was devised that foregrounded the research artefact in an exhibition and in dialogical, round-table sessions (‘Rooms of Interest’). The discussions and critical reflections arising during and following the conference demonstrate how this format offers a more synergistic approach for the dissemination of ‘research through design’ (RtD) than many traditional formats permit, and raises key practical and philosophical challenges that contribute to a broader discussion of what it means to practice RtD as a form of inquiry.

The biennial conference series aims to foster and support a burgeoning “research through design” academic community and to provide a fitting dialogical dissemination platform for this community. We hope that the conference will encourage academic communities to give proper consideration to the concept of design as a knowledge-generating activity.

The fourth edition in the series was held at the Science Centre, Delft, on 19th to 22nd March 2019. The RTD 2019 General Chairs were Elisa Giaccardi and Pieter Jan Stappers, and the organising team brought together a wealth of experience from three universities in the Netherlands, and those who have pioneered research-through-design projects and conversations within international communities.  For more information and latest news, please visit the RTD 2019 website.

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To contact the RTD Steering Committee please email