Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen is Professor of Craft Studies at the University of Helsinki, Department of Teacher Education, Finland. Previously she was professor of Craft Science at University of Joensuu Department of Savonlinna Teacher Education (2002-2007) and professor of Craft Education at University of Helsinki (2008-2010). She is also docent at Aalto University.
Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen has built her research program on the development and application of cognitive theories of design processes. The main focuses of the overall research is to analyse expertise in design, the nature of the design process and the role of the external representations, i.e., visualisation and sketching in the design process. In recent ten years she has been mostly interested in analysing collaboration and communication in design projects, the nature of the distributed expertise and the theory of knowledge building. The role of scaffolding in craft education settings, both scaffolding in social interaction as well as that mediated by material artifacts has been focus of her research. She has carried out several empirical research of computer supported collaborative learning and virtual design studios.
She has carried out two larger research projects funded by Academy of Finland: Facilitating Social Creativity through in Collaborative Designing 2003-2006 and Learning by Collaborative Designing 2007-2010.
Embodiment and Materiality in Making
Human creativity is well documented in all areas of art, craft, and design; these constitute essential aspects of our creative mind and activity, playing a significant role in culture and history. Craft and design are understood as a form of complex problem solving and their enactments are taken to be cognitive as well as embodied processes in nature. Embodied thinking that involves materials, tools, spaces of work settings and social communication is an integral part of craft and design activities. Creative process in craft and design involve reciprocal interaction between embodied material activity, conceptual reflection, and mental imagery, including emotional and aesthetic experiences. In current design research, there is increasing interest to develop frameworks and methods that assist in investigating craft and design as multi-level phenomena that, beyond individuals, take place in a certain material and social context. It is essential to develop new methodologies of capturing multi-faced nature of design thinking and mediating artefacts (i.e., materiality and physicality). The possibilities of process-sensitive methods of collecting and analysing data will be discussed and demonstrated, such as event sampling (CASS, Contextual Activity Sample System based on 3G mobile phones) and video analysis (CORDTRA, Chronologically-Oriented Representations of Discourse and Tool-Related Activity).