An important way of distancing from practice we use often is the makers' dialogue, a moderated two-way interview between two makers.

“I see that I am quite methodical although I don’t use any methods”.

- a conclusion drawn by many makers after completing the makers’ dialogue

The makers' dialogue

The makers’ dialogue is a moderated two-way interview between two makers, in which they exchange concrete creative experiences. They explore each other’s characteristics, projects and ways of working. The purpose of the dialogue is to uncover the processes that lead to choices in the creative process and to get a better understanding of the positioning of the maker in the larger whole of colleagues, assignment givers, public or users, context and the like.

Course of the makers' dialogue

The makers’ dialogue starts with try­ing to generate a characterisation of the maker being interviewed and his or her portfolio. The dialogue then focuses on one or more projects, after which one or two episodes in these projects are explored in detail. An episode is a period in a creative process, of which the maker can indicate the starting and finishing point.

Usually, the episode starts with the maker not-knowing or not-feeling how to continue or not-being able to continue. It ends when the maker is able to continue creating. The episode may last three minutes, three hours, three days, three weeks or longer. The central question always is: What happened during the episode?

The moderator plays the role of creative researcher: the one who activates the makers to produce shareable makers’ knowledge. This is the basis for further processing and knowledge forming and eventually sharing.

“I find it easier to place knowledge, input and actions, and I am increasingly making space for literally ‘sketching’ dialogues during the preliminary research”.

 - Tanja van der Laan, spatial designer, lecturer and researcher, creative research group HKU Design