Saturday, March 8, 2014

PhD in Interaction Design?

They always say, be careful what you wish for....

I have been looking for a PhD program that I can get excited about for a long time. After almost 10 years of searching and talking and meeting with many different schools and players, I think I have found a home in the Carnegie Mellon School of Design! I have been courting the School of Design for the last year with the hopes of convincing them that I might be a great candidate for their new PhD in [Interaction] Design. 

I am interested in applying ideals of live performance to the practice of design. In music circles we say that the performer is never called upon to be awkward; it is our job to demonstrate accuracy with ease. This ease in performance is an ideal that needs to be designed. We work with the elements such as tension and release, lightness and heaviness, inhibition and excitation, tempo and accent to create a conversation between the players. Obviously these elements are not reserved only for the musical arena. The stage musician builds the experience in the moment for his audience. The choreographer carefully builds the presentation so as to bring the audience into the dance. I am interested in harnessing this artful build up found in the fine arts to serve the broader daily, human experience. How can we inform or guide the average consumer toward richer, deeper, more organic interaction? Can we imagine a range of interaction where the goal is more natural, simple, meaningful, or truthful interplay? 

I am amazed and flattered, excited and terrified....they said yes. I start in the Fall. 


  1. Cngratulations! I feel as if past generations were able to experience deeper, richer interactions with one another in general. Contemporary society has lost something of this with the onset of so much technology which seems to isolate in many cases. Women used to accomplish needed tasks by working together, talking together in sewing circles and cooking for communal events. Tribal cultures do many activities involving song and dance of a spiritual nature as part of the rite of passage and major life events. I am not sure if this relates well to what you are saying in the proposal, but I understand the need for more natural, simple interplay and deeper interaction. Perhaps you can bring some of this back to us. I wish you well my friend.

  2. Barbara, I think your observations are absolutely relevant and it means even more coming from you. Your artistry and attention to ensemble has always been an inspiration to me. :)