LxD Chicago

Members of the Human Ingenuity Research Group will be part of a day-long symposium at Learn x Design 2015. The symposium will take place Sunday the 28th. If you have the opportunity, please join us!


Professor, Telemark University College, Norway

Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland

Associate Professor, Aalto University, Finland

PhD, Western University, Canada

PhD, Western University, Canada

Camilla GROTH
Research Fellow, Aalto University, Finland

Tellervo HÄRKKI
Research Fellow, University of Helsinki, Finland


The aim of the symposium is to discuss the role of embodied making in design learning. Embodied making is a term used to describe the united mind/body and its experience while making artifacts or engaging in other creative activities with materials. One main aim within this topic is to explore the basic conditions and consequences of being a body in the world, experiencing and learning through working in materials. The theme is approached through an interdisciplinary approach using a variety of methods, like video recordings, neuro-scientific methods, and stimulated recall just to mention a few examples. The facilitators of the symposium come from a variety of backgrounds, like humanities and social sciences – in particular art and design, design education and craft science, educational neuroscience and phenomenology.


The facilitators are all presenting papers and contribute in the discussions. They are all leaders of or members in research groups within the topic: The Embodied Making and Learning research group, Telemark University College, Norway; the Handling Mind research consortium, Aalto University, Finland; and the Human Ingenuity Research Group, Western, Ontario, Canada. Also participating are PhD-students from each group, some attending the conference, others participating online from their home institutions. The symposium aims at bringing these central researchers and research leaders together to discuss both the selected topics of embodied cognition in making and design learning and future possibilities for uniting the human capital of each group in a global, co-owned research project.

The symposium is open to other researchers at the LearnxDesign conference as audience to the presentations and participants in the plenary discussions.


The symposium has a duration of four hours and is organized in the four sessions available on the first day of the learnxdesign2015-conference: Sunday 28th June . The first three sessions will be streamed online and members of the three research groups are especially invited to attend from their home institutions.

9:45am - 10:45am

Creative cognition and embodied making Marte S. Gulliksen, Associate Professor, Telemark University College, Norway

This paper revisits previous research on the maker’s experience when working in materials and discusses this in light of new research on creative cognition and the neurological basis of making.

Creating the space/conditions for creativity Joel Lopata, PhD, Western University, Canada

Recent research shows that increased frontal brain activity is related to internal focus of attention (Buzsaki & Draguhn, 2004; Klimesch et al., 2007; Ward, 2003), creative thinking (Fink et al., 2009), and creative products (Lopata, 2014). These processes are reminiscent of improvising artists’ descriptions of the creative process (Berkowitz, 2007). In this talk Dr. Joel Lopata presents neuroscientific research, contending that internal focus of attention is the key condition for creative flow.

Embodied making and creative practice Maarit Mäkelä, Associate Professor, Aalto University

Recently, artists and designers have taken an active role in contextualising the creative process as it relates to their practice. Thus, understanding how the creative mind proceeds has been supplemented with knowledge attained inside the creative process. This presentation is based on documentation of my creative practice in contemporary ceramic art that occurred at the beginning of 2015

11:00am - 12:00pm

What neuroscience can tell us about skill learning in craft: The promise of cognitive neuroscience in making Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland

Handling Mind; Embodiment, Creativity and Design project aimed at using novel neuroscientific methods for studying creative, embodied processes and skill learning. We discuss the challenges and opportunities that use of brain imaging methods, especially, provides for understanding design activities.

Engaging users in the design of post-secondary teaching and learning spaces Catharine Dishke-Hondzel, PhD, Western University, Canada

University teaching and learning spaces have a variety of users with diverse needs. Simultaneously physical, technological, and psychological, space influences learning opportunities, including pedagogy and access to information. This paper discusses a year-long investigation of teaching and learning spaces designed to better identify constraints and opportunities for growth and programming.

Round-table discussion

2:45pm - 3:45pm

Design and craft thinking analyzed as a form of embodied cognition Camilla Groth, Research Fellow, Aalto University, Finland

This session presents three cases where craft- and design practices are analyzed as forms of embodied cognition. The first case involves ceramic workshops with deafblind makers. The second case involves a Practice-Led study on tactile augmentation in ceramic craft practice. The third case is examining the role of the knowing body, in design students’ material exploration process.

Approaching embodied experience of materials and materiality Härkki Tellervo, Research Fellow, University of Helsinki, Finland

We studied students’ relationship with materials and materiality, especially focusing on embodied experience. These experiences manifest themselves in multimodal expressions: gestures, body postures and speech acts. A qualitative video analysis method was developed to identify these expressions and their linkages with inherent or associative qualities, materials and materiality.

Round-table discussion

SESSION 4: WORKSHOP (1H – CLOSED SESSION for convenors only)
4:15pm - 5:15pm

TL&T Conference July 12-15 Vancouver

Technological Learning & Thinking 2014:The Cultural Roots of Human Creativity
July 13-14, Vancouver, British Columbia

This international symposium is sponsored by The University or British Columbia and The University of Western Ontario Faculties of Education, in conjunction with professional associations for technology teaching and learning.

Building on the scholarship of TL&T 2010 the symposia organizing committee invites papers and projects that address various dimensions or problems associated with technological learning and thinking. Symposia proposals and papers are welcome from theoretical and pragmatic places.  We are particularly interested in three complementary questions:  What are the educational or cultural determinants of human creativity and innovation?  What colonialist assumptions about education policy and practice need to be re-framed for learning in the 21 st century to be successful?  What are the associations between job shortages and the pedagogies needed for employment sustainability in the 21 st century?  The three symposia envisioned are designed to inspire conversation between the learning and teaching of technology and the cultural, environmental, and social study of technology.


Symposium Program - June 9 2014 (PDF)

Discussion Papers

Discussion Paper 1 - Dishke Hondzel (PDF)

Discussion Paper 2 - Guilliksen (PDF)


Stephen Petrina (

Ronald Hansen  (

Catharine Dishke Hondzel (

Teacher Education in Norway event flyer