The SIG ‚Design Promoviert’ of the Geman Society of Design Theory and Research held their first colloquium on 09.05. I count myself as fortunate to witness and participate in this very well organized event. This event, although very small (only just under 40 participants), was special. ‘Design Promoviert’ is self-initiated and organised 100 % by Ph.D. students in Germany. This fact, seems to me, has set the tone and character of their first colloquium. The majority of the participants were eager-to-learn research students who were also there to question and to offer help to each other. I kept thinking that when these group of students would become the leaders and shakers of the field one day, and if they would carry with them this same tone and character into Design Research in Germany, the future could not be brighter.
I found the topics the students chose to tackle were not uninteresting although I had a feeling that more theoretical and methodological work would be in order. The discussions and the questions were helpful, but as one participant pointed out, discussions would serve the community better if they would have been placed in the bigger context of design epistemology and doctoral education.
A never-go-away issue also surfaced at the event, namely, whether there should be an English session of presentation and discussion. I do understand that language is a way of thinking if not a ‘form of life’ and thus appreciate the desire of my German colleagues to communicate in their native language. And yet, I do not think we can ignore the internationalization of higher education in Europe. German Design Research, seems to me, only loses if contributions of international students are cut off. I hope Design Promoviert will give some thoughts to this.
The next colloquium should be in Dresden in autumn. I look forward.