© 2020

Dewey and Design

A Pragmatist Perspective for Design Research


Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 1-29
  3. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 31-61
  4. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 63-91
  5. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 93-122
  6. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 123-154
  7. Brian S. Dixon
    Pages 155-173

About this book


Over the last four decades, John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy has formed an intellectual core in design research, underpinning Donald Schön’s theory of reflective practice, the experiential perspective in HCI and the democratic commitments of participatory design. Taking these existing connections as a starting point, Brian Dixon explores how deeper alignments may be drawn between Dewey’s insights and contemporary design research’s concern with practice, meaning and collaboration. Chapter by chapter, a fresh intellectual approach is revealed, one which recognises the transformative power of doing, making and knowing as a force for positive change in the world. We see that, for Dewey, experience comes first. It connects us to surrounding world and the society of which we are part; good things can happen and new realities are possible—we just have to work for them. The implications for design research are vast. We are offered a new way of understanding designerly knowledge production, as well as the methodological implications of adopting Deweyan pragmatism in design research. Taken as a whole, Dewey and Design not only draws out the value of Dewey’s work for design research but also, crucially, offers a clear articulation of the value of design itself.


Dewey Design Research Design Epistemology Design Foundations Pragmatism Design Research Practice-Based Design Research Practice-Led Design Research Contemporary design research Deweyan approach Design Deweyan Pragmatism Design What is design research Participatory design theory

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesUlster UniversityBelfastUK

About the authors

Dr Brian Dixon (PhD; MA; BA) is Course Director for MFA Design at the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University. His research interests cohere around: the relevance of practice-orientated philosophies (e.g. pragmatism) for design research; the roles of design in human spatial understanding; and design pedagogy. He holds a PhD in Information Design from University of the Arts London, combined with a practice background in visual communications. He has published widely, with his work appearing in major journals such as Design Issues, CoDesign and Design Management. He is currently co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Design Innovation and Land Assets project, which will feed into a broader arts and humanities based exploration of landscape decision-making in the UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Dewey and Design
  • Book Subtitle A Pragmatist Perspective for Design Research
  • Authors Brian S. Dixon
  • Series Title Design Research Foundations
  • Series Abbreviated Title Design Res. Foundat.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-47470-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-47473-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-47471-3
  • Series ISSN 2366-4622
  • Series E-ISSN 2366-4630
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 200
  • Number of Illustrations 11 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Design, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site