Reflections from the Nordes conference 2017

Posted on October 2017

By Bilge Aktas

Researching for a doctoral degree is an individual journey most of the time. Researching and making on one’s own, having personal discoveries throughout the process, and evaluating and elaborating these complex situations are ways to become researchers. Yet, sharing the outcomes of these thinking and making processes are as crucially essential to research, as this positions the research and researcher in the field and in academia. In those sharing parts, you get the chance to share your passions, questions, experiences, and desires with others as well. You not only present the current state of your mind and research, but also you can get reflections from the others.

Nordes 2017, that was held at Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) in June 2017, was the first conference that I presented parts of my doctoral research. The main theme was Design and Power and throughout the two day-long conference and a day-long doctoral consortium, questions about privileges and what design can offer to those who are underprivileged were discussed.

The field of design was proposed as an instrument to re-consider everyday politics, behaviours, social spaces, local actors, and social relationships. The discussions opened-up new paths for understanding context that design is involved, such as, locality, criticality, and de-colonizing. The lectures and presentations included successfully implemented examples as well as critical reading of some other examples to change the dominating ways of thinking and world views.

These discussions were empowering to approach issues, practices, and communities from different perspectives, to overcome biases and generate new concepts and contexts. As I reflected on the discussions every day, looking at the notes I took during the day, by the meditative movement and sound of the Akerselva river, nearby AHO, I thought of the position of my research within the general field of design research. With the reflections from the audience of my session, I elaborated why my research matters for other designers and researchers. There are many possible answer to this question and one of them is because it exists, but it exists behind the curtains. And the discussions from the conference helps me lift the lid off.