The Design of Heuristic Practices

My PhD thesis, The Design of Heuristic Practices: Rethinking Communication Design in the Digital Humanities (Politecnico di Milano, March 2013) aimed at understanding the contribution that Design, especially Communication and Interface Design, can bring to the research within the Digital Humanities (?).

In the intricate network emerging from the intersections between digital technologies and Humanities studies, the participation of Design is mostly limited to the development of digital tools for accessing, visualizing and exploring cultural data. Instead, in a context where making represents an essential condition for theory production and scholars are assuming the role of new reflective practitioners, Design can indeed provide essential theoretical and methodological contributions to the definition of new heuristic research practices.

— The image on the cover is a painting by Sea Hyun Lee, Between Red.

Drawing upon a critical analysis of the literature and the direct experience within digital humanities contexts, my research proposed to place Design and its situated, interpretative and user-centered approaches at the center of Digital Humanities initiatives. A collaborative model for research in the Digital Humanities has been articulated, emphasizing the need for new hybridized forms of thinking, coming from designers, scholars and computer scientists. As a result, visualizations and interfaces are not conceived as things, but rather, as moments of interpretative processes that stem from, and define, new ways of looking, reasoning and building with and through digital technologies.

If you would like to know more about my thesis, feel free to drop me a line.