Design Educators Community

Decipher 2018: Call for Participation Announcement

March 12, 2018 / By aigaeducators

We have received a large number of quality submissions for sessions at Decipher, and our registration is now open for participants (non-facilitators / engaged attendees). This is going to be the design research learning and networking event of the year! You won’t want to miss it!

Because of our engaging format (see below) and our commitment to including everyone in the sessions and scholarly outputs of the conference, we ask anyone interested in attending to submit the following via EasyChair (our conference submission sytem):

  • Personal contact information (name, title, email, etc)
  • Title of your written piece
  • Up to 5 Keywords related to your written piece
  • A 250-word written submission (abstract) related to Decipher_2018_themes_topics
  • A 140-character summary of your written piece (for promotional and social media purposes)
  • A bio, 150 words or less
  • Headshot: 500x500px, 300ppi JPEG

Providing this information indicates your interest in specific conference topics, enables organizers to match you with specific facilitators and sessions and will create valuable networking opportunities for you throughout the event. Your 250-word submission will be included in the conference proceedings, giving everyone at the conference a voice!

Once we receive your submission, we’ll send you a code to register for the conference.


We are excited to announce Decipher, a hands-on design research conference brought to you by the AIGA Design Educators Community in partnership with the new DARIA Network (Design as Research in the Americas). The event will address crucial themes of defining, doing, disseminating, supporting, and teaching design research.

Decipher 2018: Design Educators Research Conference
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan
September 27–29 2018
Call for Participation (PDF) 

Hosted by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan, Decipher will:

• Connect emerging and experienced design researchers in academia and beyond

• Gather and share best practices, resources, tools, and exemplary research matter

• Help participants hone research plans and writing skills

• Create opportunities for dialogues that foster mentorship and collaborative connections


Is this conference for me?

YES! Our unique conference format welcomes novices and experts alike, and designers of all stripes. This intimate gathering will reinforce hands-on, person-to-person discussion, collaboration, networking, and professional development. Through activity groups, workshops, and other structured conversational formats, your involvement will help participants to gather ideas, best practices, and other exemplary research-oriented matter. We hope to offer resources, tools, and mentorship to our design communities to strengthen the collective quality of our research.

If you’re excited to roll up your sleeves, offer your ideas, dive into conversation, and synthesize findings, guidelines and best practices to benefit the greater design research community, this conference is for you. If you’re just getting started and are excited to learn more about what design research is all about, this conference is for you. If you want to take a leadership role in the future of design research practice, this conference is for you. If you’re just interested in giving a 20-minute talk and then leaving to explore southeastern Michigan, we strongly encourage you to apply to a different conference.

We are also excited to announce that the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design will provide ten $1,000 equity scholarships to actively support more diverse participation at Decipher.


Defining design research is concerned with the nature of and knowledge produced by design research: what is design research? What is not design research? What are the types of knowledge design research generates? What is the nature of this knowledge?

Doing design research involves exploring the theories, methods, processes and creative outcomes that support design as a form of inquiry, and how we “do” design research.

Disseminating design research includes the ways we share this work, such as writing about projects or ideas for publication, and how we communicate the value of design research to other disciplines.

Supporting design research is concerned with the resources and procedures to sustain financial support for design research projects and initiatives, including writing successful grant proposals.

Teaching design research cultivates an inquisitive mindset in students at k–12, undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels, and includes sharing methodologies, theories and processes that engage making as a form of knowledge production and understanding.

For more details, please view the complete Call for Participation.
Download the submission template here.


  • Facilitators: May 15, 2018 (acceptance notification: June 29, 2018)
  • Equity Scholarships & Graduate forum: June 15, 2018
  • Participants: September 1st, 2018 (rolling acceptance notifications)


Questions? decipher2018 (at) umich (dot) edu.

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