The Question of Conferences (Good question, Bruce)

Bruce asked in a comment yesterday what I'd like a Design Theory conference to look like. That caused me to think, and, of course, that's always a bad thing.

For me, the primary criteria for any conference is people. I tend to spend 90% of my time out in the halls chatting with people, hammering out ideas, policies or plans (or just chatting). So I suppose most of this will be about who, rather than what.

So, who should be in attendence at a Design Theory conference?

Well, I suppose the obvious group would be the philosophers, epistomologists and the like who explore the rational side of design. We'd want the writer-architects (and writer-furniture-makers and writer-writers and writer-programmers) who tend to write poetic and emotional explorations of the process of design. We'd want the idealists and revolutionaries to spark fire and heated debate. We'd want the quiet researchers plumbing the depths of the quiet back-water pools for hidden gems to provide the sublime and the obscure.

But you can't just lump people together and hope things work (well, you can, and it can be the best type of conference with the right mix of people, but then you really need to work on the "who"). You want some unifying goal or vision that heads the assembled felines in the same general direction without trying to herd them through a given door. What is that vision for a Design Theory conference? Maybe something simple and bald:
Saving Design: Restoring the public's faith in designers

Beyond Games: Design as a search for meaning

Anyway, today I am a programmer, so I shall programme computers, (instead of a conference), and on Friday I will transform again into "Design Theory Man" for a few days of fun.


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