Course Drifting by Intention – Four Epistemic traditions in Constructive Design Research


Course leader: Peter Gall Krogh

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Spring 2023

Application deadline: 25/04/2023

Start date: 24/05/2023

Administrator: Henriette Jaquet


All students are placed on a waiting list until we reach application deadline.

This course takes point of departure in the 2020 Krogh & Koskinen book “Drifting by Intention – Four Epistemic Traditions from within Constructive Design Research”. It is the claim of the book that designers drift, design research drift and so do most other research disciplines. In the context of the book, drifting simply means those actions that take design away from its original brief or question, and lead somewhere else. This process can sometimes lead to surprising results, but it does not have to. It is in and through these drifts that knowledge in constructive design research emerge. The modesty and mundaneness of the notion of drifting is also counter to the other (often misleading) dramatic rhetoric’s of blue-sky thinking, radical innovations, disruptive innovations, counterintuitive findings, and so forth, often found in design research literature. It may be that constructive design research delivers such break-throughs, but these heroic moments are rare, and as the book argues, it should not be turned into a standard expectation or a norm. The book and the course take on drifting is epistemological. The underlying argument is that how drifting happens depends on how designers understand knowledge they produce: where is its location, what acts create it, how binding it is supposed to be, and ultimately, what drives knowledge creation?

Based on participants preparatory reading and exercises the course progress from overarching theoretical lectures to introductory lectures on tools and models and interactive exercises providing opportunities for the participants to get hands-on experiences with the tools, models and theoretical concepts presented both in the foundational book and during the lectures. The hands-on interactive parts will take point of departure in the projects and research challenges that the participants bring forward. 

Peter Gall Krogh is trained as architect and product designer. He is Professor in Digital Design in Faculty of the ARTS at Aarhus University. Prior to this he was professor in design at Aarhus School of Architecture, visiting professor in Politecnico di Milano, Hong Kong PolyU and recently at Jiangnan University. 
He contributes to service and interaction design both in doing and theorizing based on co-design techniques with a particular interest in aesthetics, collective action and proxemics. In recent years this has played out in relation to designing for patient experiences in healthcare. 


As such the course will: 1) Introduce constructive design research as a research field, 2) exemplify and unpack the identified epistemological traditions in the field and 3) provide tools and models for planning and articulating design as a knowledge producing activity in research and finally 4) unpack the concept of drifting as descriptive for work, experimentation and evaluation in constructive design research.
Beyond the historical and methodological framing of constructive design research, the course will help its participants acquire theoretical insights of constructive design research through hands-on experience using the tools and models presented in the book. This will help the design researcher, plan, guide, execute and evaluate constructive design research in both university and industry contexts in and among other research approaches. 


Select Chapters from: 
Krogh, Peter Gall, and Ilpo Koskinen. Drifting by Intention: Four Epistemic Traditions from within Constructive Design Research. Design Research Foundations. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020. 

Redström, Johan. Making Design Theory. MIT Press, 2017.

And papers:
Frayling, C., and Royal College of Art (Great Britain). Research in Art and Design. Royal College of Art Research Papers. Royal College of Art, 1993

Gaver, William. “What Should We Expect from Research Through Design?” In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 937–946. CHI ’12. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2012

William Gaver, Peter Gall Krogh, Andy Boucher, David Chatting: Emergence as a Feature of Practice-based Design Research in proceedings of DIS '22: Designing Interactive Systems Conference

Target group:

The course is relevant to PhD students a any level. However, students in the first part of their studies will benefit the most. Also research assistants applying for doctoral studies will benefit from the course.


The course is based on preparatory work including reading literature and doing mapping exercises of activities of the individual student. At the venue the course teaching will shift between lectures and exercises. The course concludes with a minor written report handed in 2 weeks after the course.


Campus Aarhus, ADA-333

Course dates:

  • 24 May 2023 10:15 - 17:00
  • 25 May 2023 09:15 - 17:00