The Hamlet Project: The Exploration, Investigation, and Visual Interpretation of Suburban Space

By David Bieloh.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The study of design in many settings is largely a vocational endeavor, where students focus on learning industry specific skills, and on building design portfolios directed towards acquiring gainful employment. As a design educator I believe it is critical however, for students to step beyond the traditional role of the designer and the typical methods of design research and become immersed in more experimental and experiential investigative situations within their communities that nurture and challenge their self-awareness as designers and citizens.

I designed a course—a project called “hamlet” that introduced interdisciplinary students to different multisensory methods of design research. This project pushed students to be hypercritical observers of their surroundings (rather than passive participants,) and to transform or reroute their observations to generate new meaning. The objective of this project was for students to address the larger role of the designer in society, learn new experiential methods of design research, and to view their surroundings as designed systems or artifacts that inhabit a much larger social and cultural context.

This paper and presentation will reveal the processes and creative results from the hamlet project, and how the rubric from this course and the philosophy of experiential methods of design research could be adapted to a variety of situations and investigative projects, with a varied range of participants.

Keywords: Design, Research, Interdisciplinary, Methodologies, Experiential, Multisensory, Investigative, Alternative, Derive, Detournment, Situationists, Recontextualize

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.47-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.211MB).

Prof. David Bieloh

Chair, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Department of Art, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR, USA

David Bieloh is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He has worked as a professional graphic designer and as an art educator for over fourteen years. David received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Texas Woman’s University. His current research interests focus on the study of Critical Methods for the Development and Assessment of Design, Alternative Methods of Design Research, and the role of Appropriation and the Designer.

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