Design Fiction

Methodological Dynamics: Theory-Fiction and Speculative Design Research

Pleased to be able to say that I’ll be talking at the Professional Practices Conference being held at Reading University on the 27-28 April 2017. My paper will be on Methodological Dynamics – between speculative philosophy and speculative design, with case studies from architecture fiction and theory fiction.


This research draws together theory-fictions from the field of speculative culture

mobilising these as concepts for research methods training. Interested in the use of

theory-fictions and the ‘speculative turn’ in practice1 it contrasts debates on the notion

of artistic-research and practice-based research2 with discourse on design-research

in architecture.

Histories and theories of architecture suggest reflexivity between the theories of the

profession and its disciplinary practice. This paper probes at this methodological

dynamic using the theory-fictions of speculative culture, design and aesthetics. Case

material used is the author’s analysis of research narrative submitted to Research

Excellence Framework (REF 2014) and the expression of theory-fictions as a

methodological concern in contemporary practice outside of this researchadministrative

frame. Throughout, the research highlights a lineage of radical

architecture in speculative design and in the ‘fictions’ of histories and theories of

architecture. However, analysis of REF 2014 submissions reveals a schism between

epistemologically framed research practice and the methods training of architectural

researchers and those speculative methodologies found ‘in practice’.

The research concludes with recommendations for teaching design-research in

architecture based upon observable dynamics between theory-fiction and modes of

research as practiced in para-academic contexts of speculative culture.

Author: dx | Filed under: Uncategorized

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