PhD: The role of design practice in exploring and interpreting paranormal phenomena.
Para-design is a word used to define a new field of design which draws its inspiration from parapsychology and operates on the borders or periphery to what is commonly consciously or intentionally designed. Para also means for or alongside.
In the same way that paranormal means phenomena which occur outside normal understanding defined by current scientific thinking (Irwin, 2009). Para-design means design that occurs outside normal design parameters, it is an approach to thinking beyond constraint and notions of what is real, it explores belief and how we consider the analytical (rational) and experiential (emotional) factors that effect perceptions of the physical world in which we live (Epstein et al., 1996)..
Research in this area aims to explore the anomalous through a design-led approach, adopting quantitative and qualitative methods that challenge understandings of experience, self and relationships within place and environmental ecologies. In response to data collected from collaborative research projects, opportunities are explored within design to develop, translate and 'tune' experiential phenomena through the reinvention of new types of spaces that can be prototyped and tested as proposals for future ways of living.
The PhD is currently work in progress !
Epstein, S.; Pacini, R.; Denes-Raj, V. & Heier, H. (1996). "Individual differences in intuitive-experiential and analytical-rational thinking styles". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 71: 390–405.
Irwin, H.J. (2009) The Psychology of Paranormal Belief: A Researchers Handbook, University of Hereford Press.