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Constructive and experimental practice in PhD research

  • Joint PhD Course and Seminar for the Research Group Humans and IT

About the seminar

Universities are opening up for ‘non-written materials’ to be submitted for assessment as part of PhD projects. These ‘non-written works’ can take on a wide array of forms, such as prototypes, mock-ups, scenarios, different forms of media and software, etc. Yet there are no clearly formulated methodologies and practices of how to implement these works into PhD research.

To address this new and exciting situation, we are planning a two-day seminar for the Research Group Humans and IT, where we - supported by prominent guest lecturers working with constructive methods - will explore the possibilities of this new development. In the seminar we will collectively develop strategies to take advantage of this new opportunity of knowledge creation both with regards to the PhD students work, as well as within our own research.

Adjoining the seminar there will be a PhD course, exploring similar questions from students’ perspective. In the course students will discuss different approaches to knowledge creation through constructive research and develop strategies to address PhD dissemination methodologies and formulations. Prominent and senior scholars from experimental and constructive arts and design research will assist the process, taking the students own practical work as point of departure.

Participants are expected to produce a written outcome, such as a paper, methodology chapter, white paper, or similar.

The aim is for students to develop and formulate appropriate methodologies applicable to their own constructive or experimental research.

Course Content

In the course we will work with a series of questions:

  • What is the role of ‘non-written’ work in the PhD thesis?
  • How do we contribute to knowledge creation with our practical, constructive and experimental research?
  • How do we, as students, ensure proper evaluation of our ‘non-written’ works?
  • How can we develop sound methodologies rooted in our own practice?

Target group

The course is rooted in design practice but is relevant to at all PhD students engaging in constructive or experimental research and knowledge creation.


The course will be a mix of independent work, lectures, discussions and workshops.

The two main course days will take place in conjunction with a morning seminar for the Humans and IT research group in form of open lectures by our speakers, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

The afternoon sessions are for PhD’s in the form of workshops.

Prior to the event participating students are required to:

  • study the materials of an extensive reading list
  • write a blog-post describing their work, as well as formulating a question or set of problems they wish to address by participating in the course.

Participating PhD students will meet for a half-day student led preflight event, where the exact form of the course outcome will be decided. We will discuss our work, challenges and – if possible – align ourselves into interest/writing groups.

Following the two main event days, we will again meet to wrap up and evaluate the outcome of the course as well as outline our papers, chapters, etc.

Hereafter course participants will have 4 weeks to complete the written assignment, which will be posted on the blog for peer review. Each participant / writing group will be required to perform two peer reviews.

Course and seminar are held in english at the Department for Digital Design and Information studies in Aarhus and is awarded with 5 ECTS for PhD students.