Learn x Design 2017
The Allure of the Digital
DRS Design Pedagogy
Special Interest Group
→ Research paper
The aim of the Special Interest Group in Design Pedagogy is to bring together design researchers, teachers and practitioners, and others responsible for the delivery of design education, and to clarify and develop the role of design research in providing the theoretical underpinning for design education.
The aim of the Special Interest Group in Design Pedagogy is to bring together design researchers, teachers and practitioners, and others responsible for the delivery of design education, and to clarify and develop the role of design research in providing the theoretical underpinning for design education. These aims are not directed simply at one type of design education, but are intended to include all ages. However as the current membership of DRS is predominantly from universities inevitably there is some emphasis on design education at that level.
The design pedagogy research area has provided a key strand for the alignment of papers at all recent DRS conferences. The SIG has also developed its own specialist conferences on alternate years to the main DRS events. These have been in collaboration with the CUMULUS organisation.
The first DRS/CUMULUS Symposium was held in Paris in 2011. Its overarching aim was to explore how innovation in education is informed by and is informing design research. The symposium focused on design education, innovation in general education through design, and on innovation in business and engineering education through design integration. It was successful and it marked the point at which the Design Pedagogy Special Interest Group became could be said to be established as an effective force in design research.
The second DRS/CUMULUS conference was held in Oslo in May 2013. The theme of the conference was ‘Design Learning for Tomorrow- Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD’ Its theme of design was large and ambitious. The conference was intended to be an international springboard for sharing ideas and concepts about contemporary design education research. It was open to different facets of contemporary approaches to such research in any aspect and discipline of design education. With several hundred participants it was a great success and has led to several journal publications.
The third DRS/CUMULUS conference entitled Learn x Design was held in Chicago in 2015 It had an ambitious range of topics from theoretical research to practical application. The assumption was that at a career level, the intention in the study of design is to create a well-crafted, aesthetic fit of form to function, materials, and tools. We can interpret each designed product in terms of a narrative about the culture from which it evolved, about the person who produced it, and the values and practices of both. With over two hundred delegates from a wide range of countries the conference was a successful springboard for sharing ideas and concepts about contemporary design education research and the teaching of design. The range and quality of the papers provided evidence of the vitality of research and scholarship in design pedagogy.
It is quite appropriate that design academics should engage in investigations which are intended to extend our understanding and capability of the discipline. Design academics do almost all of the design research which leads to academic publications. Design practitioners get on with designing, and leave design research to the academic community. The design profession depends on the production of a stream of qualified and capable graduates from our universities and colleges. If this quality is to be maintained and enhanced it is essential that the findings of design research be applied in the development of the design curriculum and teaching approaches. Indeed these in turn warrant further research so as to ensure they develop and improve.
It is also crucial that such research be disseminated and discussed by the design community. The design conferences are a key mechanism for doing this. Another is the development of avenues for publication and the conferences have successfully fuelled the production of special issues of a number of journals. Another has been the production of the book ‘Design Pedagogy (ed M.Tovey, pub Gower 2015), which reports on the work of a number of members of the Special Interest Group.