Visual practices and the objects of design
Whyte, J.K., Ewenstein, B., Hales, M. and Tidd, J. (2007) Visual practices and the objects of design. Building Research and Information, 35 (1 Special Issue: Visual Practices: Images of Knowledge Work ). pp. 18-27. ISSN 0961-3218
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613210601036697
Recent interest in material objects - the things of everyday interaction - has led to articulations of their role in the literature on organizational knowledge and learning. What is missing is a sense of how the use of these 'things' is patterned across both industrial settings and time. This research addresses this gap with a particular emphasis on visual materials. Practices are analysed in two contrasting design settings: a capital goods manufacturer and an architectural firm. Materials are observed to be treated both as frozen, and hence unavailable for change; and as fluid, open and dynamic. In each setting temporal patterns of unfreezing and refreezing are associated with the different types of materials used. The research suggests that these differing patterns or rhythms of visual practice are important in the evolution of knowledge and in structuring social relations for delivery. Hence, to improve their performance practitioners should not only consider the types of media they use, but also reflect on the pace and style of their interactions.
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