The DRS2016 conference in Brighton marks 50 years since the Design Research Society was first set-up. There wasn't an inaugural conference in that year and the early history of design research tends to point toward the Conference on design methods that took place in September 1962 at Imperial College London as being "the place where it all began". A further major conference on The Design Method took place in Birmingham in 1965 but it was the Design Methods in Architecture symposium in Portsmouth in 1967 that seems to be the first design conference held after the Society had formed.
These early conferences, and the ones that followed in subsequent years, represent a particular form of energy where momentum was gathering behind this nascent academic discipline and community of scholars and practitioners who were coming together to make it happen. The stuttering growth of the DRS community is well documented in the early DRS newsletters, the covers of which are available elsewhere on this site. The growth of the discipline can be traced through the papers that were presented at these early conferences and the names of those who were presenting them. A detailed review of this content is being undertaken by Alejandro Poblete who will be presenting some of her findings at DRS2016.
On this DRS2016 website I will be presenting the findings of my own research which is a slightly more irreverent revisiting of the early conferences. Part travelogue and part historical reconstruction I will be using twitter as a way of commenting on some of the papers presented, the debates they provoked, the individuals involved and the places where they took place. I will also be using these pages to present any of the more ephemeral material related to the conferences, should any arise.
The early DRS conferences are clearly of their time but the issues that they addressed and the way in which participants addressed them are perhaps more timeless. Pages will be posted here that relate to each conference visited and a twitter feed will be published @DRS50th using the primary hashtag #50yearsofDRS and referring to @DRS2016uk.
This project has been funded by a DRS 50th anniversary bursary award.