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Key details


  • 13 September 2023


  • RCA

Read time

  • 22 minutes

This episode explores the essential topic of inclusive research methodologies, emphasising the importance of inclusivity at every stage of the research process. They reflect on the evolution of design over the past 15 years, focusing on its relative merits and its role in shaping our future. Discover the complexities of defining research data and the critical role of research design in students' academic journeys.

You can also play this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google.

This episode was recorded on 10 July 2023.

“I think design is a specific field of thought and activity, it seeks to make the changes and to actively do them.”

Dr Dave Webster Assistant Dean (Education), School of Design
Dave Benji in the recording studio


Benji Jeffrey 0:07

Hello and welcome to RCAst. A podcast from the Royal College of Art home to the next generation of creatives, and the world's number one art and design University representing the largest concentration of postgraduate artists and designers on the planet. We'll be bringing you insight into the philosophy behind the programmes at the RCA by talking to staff, students and the wider RCA community about what we do here and how the work of architects, artists, communicators, designers and researchers affect the world at large. I'm Benji Jeffrey and today I'll be talking to Dave Webster about how we can address local and global challenges by developing research methodologies that are both inclusive, and based on research data. Dave is an educator with 20 years experience at both a national and international level. With a PhD focused on the art and design curriculum and the relationship of student agency to knowledge and knowing. He is also the Assistant Dean in the School of Design here at the RCA. Dave, thank you for joining us today.

Dave Webster 1:06

Nice to see you today. Excellent.

Benji Jeffrey 1:07

Yes. So straight into the questions. What does an inclusive research methodology look like?

Dave Webster 1:14

Okay, that's a really great start question because one of the things we're really keen on, is for students, rather than to focus just on a research method, which might be you know, interviewing somebody, making drawings, counting the number of people that go to a particular place, what we're interested in is developing research methodologies, which means encompassing multiple types of research methods from different disciplines. So they might come from biology or other sciences, or they might come from art, or they might come from design, and integrating them into a methodology, which enables them to tackle real world problems.

Benji Jeffrey 1:52

And when we talk about it being inclusive, how does that pertain to a research practice?

Dave Webster 1:58

That's right, yeah. So that's why I like the question, because essentially, what we're saying by putting inclusiveness in front of research methodologies is that every stage of the research process, that inclusivity has to be a driver. It's very easy to think about inclusivity, just in relation to one of the steps of say, How do I collect the data? How do I analyse the data? How do I think about the data or use the data? Actually, you can just put inclusivity within one of those stages quite easily and call it a research inclusive project. But unless it's been embedded in every single stage, it won't truly be inclusive.

Benji Jeffrey 2:33

and inclusive of what exactly because it's quite a big broad term.

Dave Webster 2:37

Well, I suppose, I suppose, I think we need to talk very practically about this programme, because it's about how people are tackling real world problems. And so it's very easy for people to go in to people who haven't got agency to tell them what they should be doing about this challenge, right. So what we're what I suppose in this context, it means is it means really being inclusive of all the people who will be affected by this, whatever change or development is taking place, and actually inclusive of all the other types of factors around disability, identity, everything. So it's all considered as part of the process.

Benji Jeffrey 3:16

And when would you say that that kind of became something that people were really thinking about? Because I know even from like, 15 years ago, there was a lot of people, yeah, doing exactly what you just said, which is telling a group of people how they should feel included?

Dave Webster 3:29

Yeah I think, Well, I think that design has done a lot of things over 15 years to relative merit, some some very work very well, some less well. I'm a big fan personally, of the social model of disability, for example, which doesn't see disability as something that is pertains to the person but it's something that society sets up for, for disabled people. So a designer seeing a social model of disability, which is a contest I could do on both sides of the fence. But that would be something I would hope students would find out about if they were thinking about those issues.

Benji Jeffrey 4:03

And I know that the there's a disabled student network at the RCA and they did a collection for our online show last year, which was called Nothing About Us Without Us.

Dave Webster 4:14

Brilliant. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 4:15

A little bit of phraseology isn't it.

Dave Webster 4:16

Lovely, well and meaningful. It can sound like a snap, you know, a catchphrase, which is brilliant. And it's important that these things are truly meaningful. And I think one of the things about the design futures programme, we are asking students to consider what changes will happen in the near and distant future. But we want it to be based very much on on the reality of what's going on in the world now.

Benji Jeffrey 4:37

Hmm. So how does design futures differ from design standard?

Dave Webster 4:45

I don't know whether he does that much because it's a design. What we're saying undesigned futures is there's a thing called the design field, which to which any discipline can kind of contribute to make change. So we've got people in the department who are coming from a biology background come from, you know, finance backgrounds, that we're hoping the students on this programme will come from all these different backgrounds, and will come and think about how the the methods that they use can be built into a methodology. Not necessarily solve a problem, because I don't think that's always going to be possible, but to to help develop a better world.

Benji Jeffrey 5:23

And when does this process of research become design thinking about someone who's a biologist? Maybe it's not useful to think in these kind of terms of what where the board is live? Or where does the border lie between something being a scientific discovery and a design based?

Dave Webster 5:40

Why? I think that's quite a complicated question. And there's many there's many diagrams that academics have produced about interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, disciplinary. I think, for me, it's about bringing together what we can know about what are we thinking about what we can't know about, actually, so I do, I sit on the ethics group. And you know, there's quite complicated because many students want to find out things, which are possibly not knowable. And you have to be very mindful, as long as you know what you know, and what you aren't know. Yeah, that's very useful in these things. Assumption is a very dangerous thing, especially in research. So you can go into research project thinking that you are finding out something but you just confirmed your assumptions.

Benji Jeffrey 6:23

Yeah. And is there a lot more impetus put on speculation within these practices? Because I know that, for example, there was someone who studied digital direction here at the RCA, who then went on to write speculative fictions for banks, so that banks could think about what the potential future of banking was, which I can't imagine happening, you know, 20 years ago or something like that?

Dave Webster 6:43

No, no, I we're not so much a speculative design is actually thinking about what the real world challenges are at this very moment. And how we might respond to those, of course speculative design will be part of the discussion. I mean, one thing I'm very keen on is, we have 66 individuals coming onto this programme. And they will take very, very different approaches. And if somebody did that, that would be fine. But we're also hoping that people will do a smaller things. I think one of one of the criteria I have for the programme a little bit is because we've asked people already to write a research proposal, and made it very clear that that proposal will change considerably throughout the one year programme. And to me, it's about making doing something that actually leads to some form of change, even if it's small, can be very, very tiny. So it might be that the people have submitted proposals that are about big giant themes, which many people have. But all we've been encouraging them to do is think well, what can you actually due to make this change that you're talking about in a small way?

Benji Jeffrey 7:45

Kind of micro macro? I just realised as well, we haven't really talked about the course that you're talking about the design features, which is one of the new programmes. Yeah, we're starting here, which is starting in September.

Dave Webster 7:56

Yeah. So the the RCA. So the RCA has a load of historic courses, which are really excellent in called Ma's. So ma provision. So we have Textiles, Fashion, Service Design, Design Products, as Ma's. We also have courses we run in collaboration with Imperial, I won't go through the list of those, but we have those as well. What I was brought in to do, I've only been here a year, was to develop a new type of provision that thought about different audience for the RCA, different participants, people to engage with the programmes. So we've designed programmes that are on the whole interdisciplinary. So there's a set across all of the schools at the RCA. And in design, we decided that by holding it design futures, we could sort of link all the different possibilities. So I suppose the difference between this programme and the MA programmes is there may be students who make fashion, there may be students who end up the surface designers, there may be students who end up as all the different types of design that there are, but there'll be in this broader area. And we're also hoping students will really collaborate with each other. He has, you know, I've made it clear open days that I've done that if there are people as they go through the programme, and they gravitate towards each other, that will be really encouraged.

Benji Jeffrey 9:16

Yeah. And that's when people start to become things that they didn't think they were. It's always useful to go into something with a sense of direction, but to be more malleable with what that kids that can turn into.

Dave Webster 9:26


Benji Jeffrey 9:26

So my next question, my next big question, sorry, was what do you think can and cannot be considered research data? Are there any boundaries to that?

Dave Webster 9:36

Well, obviously ethics is incredibly important. So ethics is a major component of this particular design programme. And ethics in the world is becoming a much larger important thing with all the lack of boundaries around knowledge and what what's what is true and what is not true and all those but I don't genuinely believe there are anything out of bounds in terms of data. But I would have At the assumption thing, because an awful lot of data can be collected under assumptions. So where I would add caution is thinking, you know, why am I collecting this data? Who's it for? Is it to what capacity? Is it? Is it useful? How can it it's quite hard collecting, right? I did a PhD fairly recently. Collecting data is a very difficult thing to do. Yeah. And it is loaded with the way you seek to find it in the first place.

Benji Jeffrey 10:24

Right. And I guess it's got a lot to do about getting to the root of that that data as well, right? Because, for example, Wikipedia, is incredibly useful, right. But you have to make sure that you're getting to the root of that data.

Dave Webster 10:39

Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 10:40

To make sure that it's

Dave Webster 10:41

absolutely I use all the I use personally used things like Wikipedia and Google Scholar. And but I always go and verify through other sources as well.

Benji Jeffrey 10:50

Yeah. Because like chat chat, GPT, if you used chat GPT?

Dave Webster 10:54

A little bit only a little bit. Yes. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 10:56

It's fascinating, because it brings up so much data, which is only useful if you then go and research a pathway towards.

Dave Webster 11:05

So that's a very good example of something where we won't discourage students from using tools, as long as they see them as tools, and they see their fallibilities and they see how it might be incorrect or not providing the knowledge they actually need access to.

Benji Jeffrey 11:19

Yeah, yeah. I suppose it's a bit like the, you know, the calculator can get you surface level information. But if you want them all kind of pie based numbers, you've got to get get deeper than that.

Dave Webster 11:29

I'm not in relation to a question like this. It's, sometimes people think that data has to be very complicated. Sometimes it's just like standing next to a bin and seeing people put in it. And, you know, I think that's data too. Is it thinking, what data do you need? And the other challenge with data, which I've I've found, especially when doing a PhD is, it's incredibly easy to collect a lot of data. And actually, then you've got to analyse it. So I would say research design is absolutely critical part of what any student is doing.

Benji Jeffrey 12:00

Yeah. So what would you say is the wildest? So I'm just trying to think about practical examples. What's the wildest bit of data collection?

Dave Webster 12:07

I can't, yeah, there's so many really I mean people. I don't know, I think, I mean, I think those sorts of works the other way around, really, many people think that interviewing people will be the best way to get data.

Benji Jeffrey 12:20


Dave Webster 12:20

And I think that's not us. It's not really about wild techniques. It's more about creating new techniques to think to gather data in. So there's some old techniques that are quite useful. I've came across one called talk aloud protocol, where you sit with somebody who's doing a task and they talk you through what they're doing. Now, if you interview that person about that says, you all if you said somebody, how do you make a cup of tea.

Benji Jeffrey 12:46


Dave Webster 12:47

They would give you a narrative. And that will give you some data. But if you actually watch somebody making a cup of tea, and they talk you through it, you would actually find out a lot more.

Benji Jeffrey 12:56


Dave Webster 12:56

And there's sort of that kind of thinking about research in that way.

Benji Jeffrey 13:00

So avoiding leading questions

Dave Webster 13:01


Benji Jeffrey 13:02

I suppose or avoiding time.

Dave Webster 13:04

Yes. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 13:05

Think about their answer for them.

Dave Webster 13:08


Benji Jeffrey 13:08

Nice. So how would you say that on the programmes that we do have at the RCA, at the RCA, how is that being kind of tackled at the moment, what's happening on the ground with with these kind of research methods?

Dave Webster 13:18

Our School of Design has got this amazing elective called the Grand Challenge, which is part of the MA provision. So there's a 15 credit unit in the middle of the programme, which gives students the opportunity to get into groups. And I mean, this is where research methods can really, really interact with people. So what happens in that is students get into groups. I said, again, to groups, and they go, I mean, this year, it was based on coastal erosion. So the students got into groups of around four to six. And they travelled all over the UK, there's this wonderful map at the exhibition, which was excellent showing where they gone across the UK, to go and interview local people about what coastal erosion meant. To talk about with people who are working in those environments. So really using those I mean, this is only a four week project.

Benji Jeffrey 14:04


Dave Webster 14:04

And the downside, I almost imagine the design futures, there's almost like a year long list of that. So I do think we use the expression local and global challenges quite often. Because there is an assumption that global problems are all the same everywhere.

Benji Jeffrey 14:20


Dave Webster 14:20

Which is not correct, because local, there are local issues. So wherever people are coming from on the programme, I'm hoping they'll really think about the locale they came from, and what they might do in that as well.

Benji Jeffrey 14:33

And I guess that comes back to what you were saying before, I don't think you quite use this terminology about kind of zooming in and zooming out, you know, being able to see the bigger picture but be able to find a tiny little detail within that bigger picture versus on.

Dave Webster 14:44

I completely agree with that. So the one of the things we're doing on the programme is we've got units in envisaging futures, which is about how do you speculate and how do you construct ideas about what what future challenges might be. And we've got a unit called complex systems which is about How do you contextualise these problems or issues within a macro environment? But I think that the error will be to see macro and micro is not intimately related, right think very carefully about them and to not believe that micro event actions and events are aren't critical to solving the solving the issues we have we face.

Benji Jeffrey 15:22

Yeah. And I guess this is me I'm not a designer from a design background myself. But this is I'm assuming as well that a lot of issues come when people do try to make something local, something global right?

Dave Webster 15:34

Well yeah. But yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 15:35

Working on a particular issue and then assuming that it can be used to fit every issue of that type.

Dave Webster 15:42

Yes, lots of the applications I've I've been involved in the process of getting students for the programme. And I know there's one student coming who's specifically looking at a decolonize version of the design methods, methodologies.

Benji Jeffrey 15:54

Oh, wow.

Dave Webster 15:55

I'm really excited about because there is a quite a colonial history of design sorts of going out and imposing in places. So what's really important is that design thinks about gets the perspective that it's not just the global north.

Benji Jeffrey 16:11

Yeah. And are there any kind of any big prevalent ideas within design research that that you that you've seen disappear over the years that kind of felt like they were leading dominant ideologies that have been questioned?

Dave Webster 16:24

Possibly you just me myself, I've seen that the move away from the otter designer, is the name designer as the most important thing. It still exists, and it still offers enormously exciting, interesting works, I wouldn't say that it's gone away. It's great. But I think what I noticing is people working in teams a lot more seeing seeing them seeing their role as a designer much more in in context.

Benji Jeffrey 16:50

Yeah, I think that's something across across a lot of spheres, though, isn't it? I remember talking to Chris Mitchell on the last episode of the podcast about this move away from the the old master as the person who teaches everything, and moving away from this idea of one person inherently having all the knowledge to realise that it's more spread across everything else.

Dave Webster 17:08


Benji Jeffrey 17:09

So going back to the the grand challenge, the idea that it's a four week project, and it is speculative, right, so people don't actually within that period, create the thing they desire?

Dave Webster 17:21

No, it was but I think it was everything actually, there's all forms of design in that. I mean, that's, for some of them was speculative things like people post the television programme more, but some people did, things are actually interventions. One of the things that one was a seed bomb would be dropped into the ocean, I think that's being sort of developed. One of the reasons I came to the RCA is RCA innovation, which is just the most excellent thing to support students entrepreneurial skills, yeah. Which actually leads into another interesting conversation about how I really hope that every student who leaves this programme, the design futures programme, sees themselves as an entrepreneur who can use local resources and ideas for good to help deal with these challenges.

Benji Jeffrey 18:03

And that's an interesting kind of butting of heads, I would imagine as well, right? This idea of entrepreneurship and designing for good is there some kind of like strange relationship between the two, perhaps this idea of, you know, capital being involved in, maybe I'm going a bit larger, but capital being something that causes the problem being the thing that comes along to solve the problem.

Dave Webster 18:24

Of course, every one of our students has got to survive and in the world and make a living. And so I always recognise that and I think students should understand that and be have discussions around that. But I think in terms of entrepreneurship, that's really about how resources are used, right? So it's not really just about capital, this is about how the world's resources are used. And designers, it has a bad history in this territory. And so this is where I think you asked how it's changed. I think people designers are really mindful of the kind of resources that are reused as part of the work really talking about, you know, instigating.

Benji Jeffrey 18:57

Yeah. And you said that this, the seed bomb idea was being developed. Are there any other projects that have been developed.

Dave Webster 19:02

From all our courses, there's loads of different options, there's so many on the internet, I almost feel like talking about them is if you go to the RCA innovation, there's so many things that are supported. And I just, I mean, I've seen great work coming out of all departments, since I've been here.

Benji Jeffrey 19:16

because the terracotta as well was another similar challenge that having working with ideas around which I think is going to be coming back again next year.

Dave Webster 19:24

Yes, yeah. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 19:26

Are there any projects, you know, RCA aside that you think are really good examples, at the moment of design kind of working for good?

Dave Webster 19:33

While there is design for goods that is an organisation that is a really excellent vendor the other day so but that's sort of more senior leaders in in the design industry coming together to look at how they can contribute to the to some of these global challenges. Now we'll be definitely getting our students to look at the kinds of work that they, they've instigating and done.

Benji Jeffrey 19:54

And aside from these kinds of predominantly design projects, are there any more kind of research driven projects checks that are happening that you think are doing good.

Dave Webster 20:02

I mean, that's another really exciting thing about coming to the RCA as a member of staff and as a student is that there is research work that's going on with some of the projects are really, really exciting. There's so many around, you know, health care, or all sorts of things. I'm really excited by the one called the new economic models for Oceans. Nemo, you know, it's a it's across the years looking at how we focus on Planet centred kind of strategies to preserve, preserve the oceans, which have, you know, really struggling.

Benji Jeffrey 20:33

And it seems like there's a lot a lot of the projects for well, it was centred was the grand challenge was centred on on oceans, right?

Dave Webster 20:39

Yes, yes, that's right. Yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 20:41

But also on the RCA 2023 platform that we have, which has got all the work from from our graduating students. That seems to be a big influx, and people working with new plant based materials and ocean ideas.

Dave Webster 20:52

Yeah, well, of course, the Earth is covered substantially in oceans, more than land.

Benji Jeffrey 20:57


Dave Webster 20:57

And I think people are more arising, there's the issue of multi species design is a term used, sometimes people are much more conscious of the global impact of what what's being done in design in the world, generally.

Benji Jeffrey 21:11

Yeah. And what about AI as something? So thinking away from the oceans and away from the land? I suppose that's going to be a big part of what's happening in design thinking about designing for a space that doesn't have any physicality to it.

Dave Webster 21:25

Yes, absolutely. We have got, we have students who are very interested in that. And we are focusing, I think, to be honest, we are probably focusing more on the real world problems at this particular moment. But AI will help with those.

Benji Jeffrey 21:25


Dave Webster 21:25

This is, as long as it seems as a tool, and it can be seen in context. Yeah. So some of our programmes are writing really good ethical descriptions of how to use AI to develop projects.

Benji Jeffrey 21:49

But isn't AI also potentially some kind of threat as well, you know, yeah. I don't know. I'd never know how much to trust.

Dave Webster 21:56

I've just read a book on that. But I think it's, I think that's very complicated question.

Benji Jeffrey 22:01

Okay. It's too complicated for today.

Dave Webster 22:03


Benji Jeffrey 22:03

I'm within that. So you said that you've had people come from coming from biology in places like that? Do you see much kind of cross contamination for want of a better word with with kind of architects and artists coming in as well?

Dave Webster 22:15

Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean, that's, it's all I think it's all up for grabs. I think I mean, architects have substantially concerned about the environment I've been i We do have a separate department at the RCA for architecture. And I work with those colleagues on various aspects. And I just saw some amazing work the other day, on the students really thinking about how does environmental, live interior designs, for example, how, how are they developed sustainably. And I think back to your question, around disciplinaries different disciplines coming to this, I think there's a massive recognition that the bodies of knowledge that had been developed within academia and in in professions is, it's all up for grabs now. And it can move can be accessed quite easily. And it's really curating that knowledge into shape. That's critical.

Benji Jeffrey 23:03

Well, I guess one of the important things about kind of art and design as well, is that is having a particular perspective that you weren't expecting, right? So some of the best artists I know, for example, are people that did physics and then went to go and do art and then yes, or vice versa, who are coming coming at it from a different with a different wavelength.

Dave Webster 23:18

Yes absolutely. And we'll think of ways when this is the wonderfulness of teams, because when you get collaborative teams working effectively, then there's this thing. Well, what do you bring? What does each person bring to the table? And designed to relate? How can it be used really effectively to make these, you know, to address things?

Benji Jeffrey 23:36

So this is a bit of a big question to kind of end of the day on. But in your mind, then what what what differentiates between art and design? Why is it that art can't be doing these things? Or what why is it that what we define as art can't be doing these things in design can?

Dave Webster 23:51

Yeah, well, I have a lot of colleagues in art, and they are doing these things, and they are irrelevant to them. But I think design is specific field of thought and activity, it seeks to, to make the changes and to actively do them. So we are I suppose in on our programme, we're probably less interested in students making an installation or a presentation that people come to see to think about it, which is totally valid. Yeah, we're but we're more interested in what might somebody go and do support a community to actually challenge that thing or do that thing? So it's a sort of different kind of perspective on it?

Benji Jeffrey 24:25

Yeah the way I've always looked at it, although I realise this is a bit of a binary way of thinking is that art is generally kind of asked asking questions without wanting to get an answer. Whereas design is asking questions that it wants, not necessarily going to answer, but it wants an answer to

Dave Webster 24:39

Yeah, so obviously doesn't find the answer. Actually, research doesn't do either. But I do think, I mean, I've been involved in both in my life and both are excellent, you know, wonderful disciplines. And I suspect we will have artists on this programme. Yeah. So it's not it's not about that. It's more that I think the programme was more likely to lead to something quite specific. Yeah, that happens and not probably just in a gallery. Yeah, yeah.

Benji Jeffrey 25:02

Although there actually, do you know forensic architecture? Fantastic is a great example of something that really straddles the two is doing something that has real world consequence. Obviously, art has real low competence but t has material.

Dave Webster 25:14


Benji Jeffrey 25:14

let's call it real world consequences.

Dave Webster 25:16

I think that's why on the whole, most people don't bother to define the difference, because actually, there isn't much.

Benji Jeffrey 25:21


Dave Webster 25:22

She's not needed. She needed to do so. Yeah. What was the point in doing so?

Benji Jeffrey 25:25


Dave Webster 25:25

The point is, is that you either are an artist or you're a designer, and you wanted to make some change and help things happen.

Benji Jeffrey 25:32

I guess the difference is, it's useful to know where you think your things are going to go.

Dave Webster 25:36

I agree with that entirely. So that's, that's probably it. Context.

Benji Jeffrey 25:40


Dave Webster 25:40

Where did where do you think it's going to land?

Benji Jeffrey 25:43

Where will it land in there? Yeah. Yeah.

Dave Webster 25:44

And as long as it lands, that's the main thing.

Benji Jeffrey 25:46

Yeah. And with the research element of these courses, to what extent is that people developing that own very, very particular ways of engaging with research, rather than following methodologies that are received in a particular way? So I've not done a PhD? Yes, myself. So but I know that when you do a PhD, there are certain ways that you have to go about things in order for it to be able to be peer reviewed and accepted. What what's the difference between what's happening there with research and what's happening on these kinds of programmes.

Dave Webster 26:13

So this is definitely level seven, which is a postgraduate, it's not a PhD. But what we're hoping is that by bringing, I suppose this is where the innovation happens, innovation doesn't happen. You won't be inventing new research methods. But you might invent a new research methodology where you bring thing different things together to investigate something that hadn't been put together before. So that's the kind of level of innovation that we're looking for. And that could be quite surprising things. It could be, you know, mixing interviews with, you know, drawing or interviewed with collecting samples, or it could be whatever research methods you kind of want to draw upon.

Benji Jeffrey 26:52

Yeah. And how are you thinking about that distinction between methods and methodology? What is the defining thing

Dave Webster 26:57

Yeah, and the Ask was quite a complicated one that often, but the research methods are essentially the things like interviews, right, counting the people, number of people that walk through a doorway, those are the research methods. And methodology is the overarching consideration of how you'd run the whole project and you over situate everything.

Benji Jeffrey 27:17

And aside from obviously, applying programmes, yeah. Do you have any advice for people that want to engage with these forms of research on these forms of design any, like, kind of texts, or events or places or things to look at?

Dave Webster 27:29

Yeah. So I mean, that's a great question. And I personally, genuinely believe I've been asked often for, what's the book, that would be the best book for design futures, where you can find the books that have been written by just putting a search into a various popular sites. I personally think is, don't do that, just start on the thing you're really interested in. So think about very specifically, and be as specific as you can be about what it is that you're interested in, and start researching outwards from that point.

Benji Jeffrey 27:58


Dave Webster 27:58

Because in a way, if I gave you a general book about design, you don't get a lot from it, you just get a general view of design.

Benji Jeffrey 28:05


Dave Webster 28:05

Whereas actually, I think what this is about it for you, for you, if you're starting this journey, is you're very specific. What are you interested in? And why do you want to do it? So I would recommend trusting yourself to just start the process straightaway. And you can start this without being on any programme, you can just start researching and investigating and finding out things.

Benji Jeffrey 28:26

I think that's one of the most fundamental things about education as law, right. And one of the things that people get wrong the most, you've got to start from a place of joy or interest. Far too many people think that they have to learn everything and forget the joy and the interest. Yeah. And

Dave Webster 28:41

if I, if I read a book, which I've many I've read, I literally didn't understand, by the end, I go on YouTube and watch the people who read the book, giving lectures or talking about it, or somebody else, or readers. I'm a big fan of readers, which are basically somebody else interpreting somebody's texting her more comprehensible way. So I think it's there's lots of ways to absorb knowledge and find out about these things.

Benji Jeffrey 29:03

Yeah. Nice. I think that's very similar to what Martin said at the end of Martin Newth, which there are no books find around.

Dave Webster 29:12

I mean, I think there are obviously there are key texts, I suppose that get bandied around, but you can find them, but they're also variably. Good as well. I mean, you know, I've, I've read books that are claimed to be brilliant, I'm not very sure about, and then you know, and so there's my opinion, you know, and it's sort of I think it's fine, the ones that you think that brilliant and you think are relevant to what you want to do.

Benji Jeffrey 29:30

Yeah. Brilliant. Thank you very much. And thank you for joining us today. Thank you. Thanks. You've been listening to Rcast, the Royal College of Art Podcast, home to the next generation of artists, innovators and entrepreneurs, and the world's number one art and design University. You can learn more about our programmesrca.ac.uk as well as finding news and events relating to the college and our application portal if you're a prospective student.


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