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M. Biggs1, D. Büchler1, R. Rocco2, C. Schjerven3

1University of Hertfordshire (UNITED KINGDOM)
3Oslo School of Architecture (NORWAY)
At the University of Hertfordshire, UK, we have a cluster of projects called ‘research into practice’ (R2P) which considers the problems related to the emergence of something called ‘practice-based research’. There are different names for it but, broadly speaking, what they have in common is that they all refer to what it is to undertake research in an area like painting or musical composition, architecture or design; namely creative and formally vocational areas. The academic model of knowledge in these areas has not been clearly articulated which means that often the values held in professional practice run counter to the traditional models of knowledge and, as a result, there is a problem in accounting for research in areas of creative practice in ways that will be recognized and valued by both communities. Within the R2P cluster, the 3-year AHRC-funded research project ‘Non-traditional Knowledge and Communication’ contributes to ongoing debate about the best way of dealing with and reflecting creative practice values that are, from the academic viewpoint, non-traditional. In connection to this project, we have previously described the development and delivery of a research methods training course in the department of spatial planning and design at TU Delft, NL. The training course was developed, in turn, to cater to the department’s Design-by-Research course, which attempts to cater to both the creative practice and the academic community by including a practical and theoretical component. The analysis found issues with curriculum-building in an area of epistemological uncertainty which also presented difficulties for finding assessment criteria that both communities could agree upon. The findings have been discussed theoretically in terms of community cultures and values, and how the TUDelft case typically manifests the differences between the worldviews of academic research and professional practice, with their differing aims and values. In that first phase of the study we found challenges to curriculum development in the gap analysis, the curriculum design and assessment and, furthermore, identified the existence of two distinct communities that held two distinct worldviews. In the second phase we are exploring the worldviews of the creative practice community as evidenced by the key academic figures at TUDelft and comparing that to the control group represented by the sample of new students who have not yet been enculturated with the TUDelft worldview. The present paper describes the second phase, more specifically the empirical investigations that were conducted into the worldview of the design community within the academic context. We describe how the theoretical framework from the first phase informed the questionnaire design and sample selection; the on-line surveys that were developed and delivered to entering students; the structured interviews conducted with previously identified key figures of the TUDelft academic staff and the analysis of the findings according to a previously developed Value Statement method. In the paper we will discuss these empirical findings in terms of the different worldviews in operation in the academicized design field and the professional design field, in terms of the comparison between the academic worldviews and research models and the practitioners worldviews and expectations, thus exploring the production of research in areas of creative practice and the barriers to their academicization.