New publication: The Perform Codesign Experiment – on what people actually do and the relation between program and experiment in research through design


In November 2015 present paper was presented at IASDR15 (International Association of Societies of Design Research) in Brisbane, Australia. It is written by Eva Brandt (KADK), Mette Agger Eriksen (Malmö University), Thomas Binder (KADK) and Johan Redström (Umeå University).


Design experiments are powerful inquiries, working from the ambiguous and tentative to more firm programmatic statements. In participatory design and codesign, learning and knowing is closely tied to participation − the engagement with and manipulation of shared representations, as participants expose how they become knowledgeable in what they collaboratively make. However, working with codesign as an integral part of knowledge production poses challenges to how we conceive of such inquiries in the practices of research through design. This paper reports from collaborative research where fellow researchers and PhD students carry out a codesign experiment (in the Xlab meta-project). The intention of the paper is twofold but intertwined: to get closer at what it is that people actually do in a codesign experiment situation; and to further investigate the relationship between program and experiments. We will give examples of the considerations and crises faced by the participants and how they try to solve them. In addition, we suggest using the notion of ‘sub-program’ as a way of describing the framing of a specific experiment thus adding to the program-experiment dialectics in the designing and doing of experiments.



Designing codesign experiments, research program, experiments/program dialectics, experiment sub-program, meta-reflections, knowledge production.

Other publications within the same area

Bang, A. L., Eriksen, M. A. (2014). Experiments all the way in programmatic design research. In Artifact, 2014, volume III, Issue 2, Pages 4.1 – 4.14.

Binder, T. and Redström, J. (2006). Exemplary Design Research. In Friedman, K., Love, T. and Corte-Real, E. (Eds.) Proceedings of Design Research Society Wonderground International Conference 2006.

Brandt E. & Binder, T. (2007). Experimental Design Research: Genealogy – Intervention – Argument. Proceedings of International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference, Hong Kong 2007.

Brandt, E., Redström, J., Eriksen, M.A., Binder, T. (2011) XLAB. The Danish Design School Press. Denmark.

Redström, J. (2011). Some notes on program/experiment dialectics. In web proceedings of Nordic Design Research Conference 2011, Helsinki.

Want to read the full paper?

Find the online proceedings at or contact Eva on ebr (at)

About Eva Brandt

Eva Brandt is Professor in Social Design at Design School Kolding since May 2019. Eva is scientific leader of the Lab for Social Design. The main part of her research is about how designers can stage open design processes (design labs based on participatory design/codesign) with many participants who both can inquire into existing practices and explore possible futures in common. She also contributes to theorizing about experimental design research driven by programs and experiments. She has been contributing to several books such as Design Spaces (IT Press, 2005), Rehearsing the Future (The Danish Design School Press, 2010), XLAB (The Danish Design School Press, 2011), Facilitating Change – Using Interactive Methods in Organizations, Communities and Networks (Polyteknisk Forlag, 2011), and Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (Routledge, 2013). Practice Based Design Reseach (2017). Ledelse og samskabelse i den offentlige sektor (2018). Eva has been chairing the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2013, and are chairing the Nordes 2021 too.
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