Stepping out of the Ivory Tower: practice-led inquiry and postdisciplinary research


  • Welby Ings Auckland University of Technology



Design, postdisciplinary, practice-led research, thesis supervision


This article considers the nature of postdisciplinary research as it relates to certain practice-led design inquiries. From a discussion of discipline territoriality in the academy, it moves to a consideration of how historical demarcations were disrupted and reshaped by professional disciplines that entered universities in the latter part of the 20th century. Among these, areas like design, with its high levels of situated experimentation, reflection on practice and applied professional knowing, began to challenge established disciplinary conventions. Building on the proposition that certain practice-led inquiries in design are postdisciplinary in nature, the article considers three examples of recent doctoral theses. In discussing these projects, it reveals ways in which knowledge from within and beyond conventionally demarcated disciplinary fields was gathered, interpreted and creatively synthesised. In concluding, the article proposes that practice-led, postdisciplinary research may usefully contribute to the ongoing need for expansive, flexible and appreciative approaches to knowledge generation.


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Biografia do Autor

Welby Ings, Auckland University of Technology

Welby Ings is a professor in narrative design at Auckland University of Technology. He is also an elected fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts and a consultant to many international organizations on issues of creativity and learning. He is an award-winning filmmaker, author, designer and playwright. Although he holds a Ph.D. in narratology, he publishes widely on practice-oriented inquiry, methodology and Indigenous scholarship. In 2001, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s inaugural Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, and in 2013, the AUT medal for contributions to research and education. His academic profile can be accessed at:


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Como Citar

INGS, W. Stepping out of the Ivory Tower: practice-led inquiry and postdisciplinary research. Revista GEMInIS, [S. l.], v. 13, n. 2, p. 5–16, 2022. DOI: 10.53450/2179-1465.RG.2022v13i2p5-16. Disponível em: Acesso em: 4 jul. 2022.



LINK2022 Coletânea: A Pesquisa Practice-led em Comunicação e Design