Professional Apprenticeship

What is it?

The professional apprenticeship is part of a course called Professional Roles. During the apprenticeship the students get the opportunity to do research and learn to communicate their research under the guidance of a researcher. A number of researchers propose research projects to the students and they choose one to work on in the following semester. In addition to the apprenticeship the students get to meet alumni from their study program, who will tell them about their experience after graduating and give them the opportunity to ask questions.

Who participates?

The participants in this apprenticeship are researchers from SDU Design and students from the IT and Product Design program. Each researcher has one or two students to work with. Other participants are alumni from IT and Product Design, who come back to give students insight into life after graduation and to help them learn how to communicate with businesses.

What is the goal?

The goal of this course and the apprenticeship is to help the students to learn how to communicate their skills and competences outside the university. The students will also learn how to work on a research project and following that how to communicate their research and their findings to others.

What will they be working on?

The researchers have made several proposals. Here is a short overview:

  1. Beautiful Materials – what is beautiful (today, tomorrow, moving forward)? what is material? how might materialities be worn? (Danielle)
    The aim is to look at a new material every week, to explore how it could be used in relation to the body. To find materials that are little known, or not well leveraged in design. Take, for example, aerogel (see image). This material is aesthetically seductive. What are it’s properties? Associated challenges and opportunities? Can we get hold of some? Make some? How might it be worn? The aim is to develop skills and knowledge around materials, material interactions, design fictions, critical engagement with emerging technologies, to develop a publication (short paper or poster and accompanying video), and potentially create a small design exhibit (be it fictional or real), proposing possible wearable interactions.
  2. Pakhuset – A makerspace, design studio and entrepreneurial environment (Mette)
    I am currently involved in the development of Pakhuset – a combined makerspace, student design studio and entrepreneurial environment for start-up companies situated in an old warehouse by the harbour in Kolding. In collaboration with the architect we are exploring how architecture and design may support daily work and collaboration within the space. I am particularly interested in the relationship between architecture and behaviour, and how we may understand and work with buildings and design as a form of ‘behavioural infra-structure’. The project will involve field studies of work practice among future inhabitants of Pakhuset, workshops with stakeholders, field studies of other makerspaces as well as design experiments.
  3. Designing a comparison method of analysis for evaluation of Electroactive Polymer (EAP) enabled product concepts (Alan)
    The list of potential components and products that can benefit from the use of EAPs is extensive. We would like to find a way of evaluating and comparing them without writing a business case for each one. What is needed is a fast and effective way of establishing a measure of the value in EAP for a given application, such that very different product concepts for different markets can be compared efficiently and objectively.

    Some examples from the list:

    • Silent, curling architectural facades
    • Shirtsleeves that roll up automatically when you’re hot
    • The perfect self-adjusting wobble free mattress
    • Clothes that massage you
    • Domestic lighting which opens like a flower
    • Artificial muscle
    • Squeezable computer interface that pushes back
    • The teddy bear that hugs you back
    • Self damping bra

    If accepted, the research project deliverables could then be presented at one of the conferences. The one to aim for would be the conveniently timed EuroEAP 2015 in Estonia in June.

  4. Design for and within policy (Louise)
    Based on my PhD research I have become interested in the field of design in relation to policy making. I am interested in public policy making concerning infrastructure and public services such as education and health care and how design and anthropological methods and perspectives can play a role in the policy making process. The collaborative research tool (my wooden model of the energy system) that I developed in my PhD project is an example of this.
    This research project reflects my interest in contributing further to the field of design researchers working with and within policy. I would like you as students to assist me in gaining more knowledge about this field, identify and discuss where there is room for an addition or reframing of the field. This kind of research is interested in improving public services and decision making processes for the benefit of the public.
    As a part of this project I want you in the process to identify a focus of your own interest in the field of design and policy. Your final delivery will be a 4/5 page paper describing your own perspective on design for and within policy. Look at the first link in the references if you want more information about what this field of research could be focused on.
  5. Tangible Interviews in Organisational Contexts (Patricia)
    It is well-known that ethnographic insight about ’users’ seldom sits well with product manufacturers, as it may challenge their conceptions of what they actually sell and to whom. Previous measures suggested to overcome this challenge include packaging insights in the form of ’experience models’, inviting executives along on fieldstudies, and organising collaborative sensemaking of fielddata. In our work we both invite company employees out in the field and design tangible toolsets that support fieldstudy and sensemaking alike. In particular, we use the tools to encourage company executives to compare perceptions of the two ethnographic fields – the one ’out there’ with the customers, and the one ’in here’ with the organisation. In our approach, we design tangible sets of materials to support ethnographical studies in meetings with internal project partners and different customer types. We propose a methodological framework, namely ‘tangible interviews’: a combination of designerly tangible materials and ethnographic inquiries as a format of doing interviews in business contexts.
    We build upon the concept of Participatory Innovation, and the work of ‘tangible business models’ that develops on the means of tangible materials as ways to facilitate conversations in companies among participants who not necessarily have a business degree, producing unfiltered data for co-analysis. What essentially constitutes our proposal is an attempt to explore how tangible formats can support the shaping of anthropological studies in organisations. In this exploration, we question if and how these formats could contribute to the multi directional bridge between Design, Anthropology and Business disciplines.

    – PROJECT CONTEXT: Ethnographic studies in water plants in collaboration with Grundfos (in connection to the User-Centred Design course, facilitated by Jacob Buur)
    – DELIVERABLES: Literature discussion in a format of an academic paper + a tangible toolset for interviews

  6. The PolyPower Case (Henry)
    Possible research project connected to the reasoning why PolyPower did not succeed at Danfoss. Conference paper submissions to CINet.
  7. Speculative Design (Laurens)
    This apprenticeship is a speculative design internship. We will investigate the potentials of emerging technologies such as biotechnologies, genetic engineering and nanotechnologies; explore how these might affect human identities in light of social and cultural phenomena with corresponding norms and values. This will form the basis for a series of speculative design proposals that deliberately challenge contemporary taken for granted understandings. We will present these proposals in different formats, e.g. graphical, physical, or interactive. These will be exhibited or deployed in the field, to gather people’s responses for later analysis.
  8. Design Experiments – Influence spaces for design (Robb)
    I am interested in how architect, design (and also sometimes art) influences spaces for collaboration – see attached for some (not always very well written) accounts of some previous explorations. So my apprenticeship project will be to join forces with Mette’s project. Despite my background in setting up making related mixed use spaces, my focus will be more on the design experiments side. So will be looking for confident makers, who also wish to improve their academic writing, with a view for outputs in the direction of a conference like TEI or CSCW and/or possibly an electronic arts festival.

For more information contact  Wendy Gunn E-Mail