Design Educators Community

Connecting Dots: Call for Proposals

October 21, 2013 / By aiga educators

The next AIGA Design Educators Conference Connecting Dots: Research, Education + Practice will take place in Cincinnati on the University of Cincinnati campus, March 14 and 15, 2014Connecting Dots seeks speakers who will address the ongoing developments of design research in education and the practice today. This conference will examine possible diverging goals, different applied methods, and the potential collaboration between the two groups. Is design research practice within the profession able to propose theory? Conversely is design research in education applicable to professional practice? Conference sessions are divided into three areas: research outcomes, methods, and needs. Session proposals are now being accepted. See guidelines below.

Conference Statement
Design educators are challenged with identifying what constitutes appropriate and effective research. They must bring this knowledge to the classroom with the assurance it will serve students well in their practice. Currently, most educators’ methods are replete with intuition and anecdote. How might we reach a position that is academically sound and professionally valuable when put into action? Connecting Dots explores the ideas, ideals, and practices of design educators and professionals as they together investigate research. Join fellow design faculty, students, and professionals to listen to noted speakers, panels, roundtable discussions and other learning activities. Conference conclusions will be published with proposed research directions for communication designers.

Connections are easier to make when distinctions are clear. To facilitate making connections, the conference content will flow into three thematic areas that describe the design research landscape today: research outcomes, methods, and/or needs. To help make connections, the sessions will not be divided into thematic areas, but rather each session will incorporate presentations inclusive of all the three thematic areas.

Research Outcomes: Outcome topics present ideas that have been tested, validated, and as a result claim to have proven something to be advantageous. Outcomes presentations will look a lot like scientific research papers in that they will outline the research question, the methods of investigation, the results, and how results might be used. Outcomes are offered with the unspoken recommendation that they are to be considered by the design community as being useful knowledge for professionals, educators and students.

Research Methods:Method topics present descriptions of processes of design exploration to accomplish a task or answer a question. Methods can be singular or several, mixed or integrated, novel or shown to be particularly useful for design. Methods presentations will look a lot like proven process descriptions in that they will offer models that others can use with confidence. Methods are offered to the Design community intending to improve design research quality for professionals, educators and students.

Research Needs: Need topics will neither claim to prove that something is, nor offer a process that is, effective, but will call for something to happen. Needs may offer insight, identify a problem for exploration, suggest a possible solution, or declare a call to action. Needs presentations will look a lot like opinion pieces or manifestos in that they make no claim to be proven but share ideas based on experience or insight. Needs are offered to the Design community to challenge conventions, guide directions, or stimulate action in design research for professional, educators and students.

Submitting Conference Session Proposals
Please indicate which conference theme session: research outcomes, methods or needs, for which you wish your paper to be considered for. Proposals will be refereed by two educators and one practitioner. Proposals must be written in English. Each proposal must include the following:
•   Title of your paper or presentation, and the conference session it pertains to.
•   A concise abstract of 300 words or less.
•   The above information must appear on a single letter-size/A4 page. Proposals longer than one page will not be accepted.
•   Please do not include any identifying information such as your name or institution on the proposal page itself.

Proposals should be attached as a PDF submitted via email to Heekyoung Jung at In the body of the email, include: your name, your institutional affiliation (if you have one), and your contact information, including your telephone number and mailing address.

PDF files should be labeled using conference title (Connecting Dots), the proposed conference session (outcomes, methods or needs) and followed by your first initial/last name as the document title format. Follows are examples:
Connecting Dots_ Outcomes_ASmith.pdf
Connecting Dots_Methods_TJones.pdf
Connecting Dots_Needs_CGonzales.pdf

December 31, 2013: Proposals must be received by end of the day.
January 15, 2014: Notice of acceptance will be provided to all proposal authors by
February 15, 2014: Accepted authors must submit full papers with complete images. We will also need a bio statement with a word count of 75 – 150 words along with digital color portrait of yourself (JPEG file).

The final acceptance of each proposal will be based upon receipt of the full paper. Accepted papers will be published in their entirety along with the provided images.  If you have any questions about proposal submissions, please contact:
Oscar Fernández at

Conference Planning Committee:
Sherry Blankenship, Ohio University
Todd Childers, Bowling Green State University
Oscar Fernández, University of Cincinnati
Paul Nini, The Ohio State University
Brian Stone, The Ohio State University
Todd Timney, University of Cincinnati
Mike Zender, University of Cincinnati

Conference Website

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