Friday, 5 October 2007

Back to Work…

As I mentioned in my little diatribe I had had 2 interviews in September for a Senior Lectureship in New Media and Digital Media respectively. For diplomatic reasons I wont mention at which HEIs they where held but I will say that both opened my eyes to the reality of the Interactive Design industry and it's spectrum of interpretations as to what a job title entails. I really enjoyed both interviews and gained a great deal from the experience but although both wanted a lecturer who could deliver interactive design modules they hugely differed in what they were looking for, so much so it was challenging to select the relevant parts of my experience to support my application.

What was really helpful was that both institutions were enthusiastic about my desire to start a PhD and it was useful to discuss my areas of interest. But the matter still stands that I keep losing sight of what it really is that I can sustain 5 years of research in. Since then I have fortunately had a couple of breaks that I want to pursue with a PhD in mind. Firstly I attended a conference on collaborations at the University of Huddersfield on Wednesday as a guest speaker. I had been asked to present a case study on my own experience and good practice in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEE). Before my group's slot (which was a triple-hander between myself, my colleague who is an ex-student and employee of SCEE, and the HR manager of SCEE) I heard a presentation by the MD of 'Brahm based in Leeds about their collaborative work practice across disciplines. I really enjoyed it and was impressed with their ethos so much so that we are arranging a visit so I can tour their facilities and to discuss possible future collaborations. I am hoping to get some insight there to ideas that will sustain 5 years of a practice-based PhD.

Also at work today I discovered my new pigeon hole stuffed full of mail that had been waiting for me for weeks. In there was a prospectus from the RCA. I was about to file it in the bin after a quick flick through but discovered their Design Interactions PhDs. I know there is kudos associated with studying at the RCA but I am a Scouser which means I'm a Northern mongrel, essentially from a Scots-Irish background with a healthy disregard for anywhere below the M62. Whilst I wouldn't rule out the RCA I personally favour the ECA.

What caught my eye was their current/recent areas of research. This at least helps me focus on the possible design-led areas of interactive design. There are 6 areas of research they detail covering:
• Design Futures
• Design for Debate
• Design Fiction
• Extreme Design
• Complicated Pleasures
• Designing Design
Out of these the Extreme Design area is interesting. According to the blurb it covers "exploring new approaches to interaction design in relation to extreme needs, desires and situations (emotional, intellectual and physical)." This concise summary of the area of research is really helpful as I really want to begin my literature review part of my contextual review.

Give me some time and I will try to finally resolve the parameters of my research interest.

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