Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
6.b 4/4: Design Literacy enabling Critical Innovation Practices
Thursday, 20/Jun/2019:
4:00pm - 5:40pm

Session Chair: Eva Lutnæs
Session Chair: Ursula Bravo
Location: LDN.102
1st floor Loughborough University London 60 capacity

Session Abstract

Design Literacy can be regarded as a catalyst for a move towards a better citizens participation in innovative design processes. By educating the general public to become design literate, there is a chance to support critical innovation and a possible move towards sustainable societies (Stegall, 2006). The challenge is to articulate content, performance and continuity for a critical decision-making process and how this influence critical innovation and design education at large.

The concept ‘Design Literacy’ addresses the complex matter of objectives, content and practices in design processes and education. Research on multiple literacies has evoked considerable debate and redefinition within several areas of educational research (Coiro et al. 2008); the understanding of literacy is no longer bound to the ability to read and write verbal text or numeracy. Design Literacy (Nielsen and Brænne, 2013) are among newly coined literacies. Design Literacy is connected both to the creation and understanding of design innovation in a broad sense. In today’s mostly artificial world, the Design Literacy is regarded as a competence not only for the professional designer, but also for the general public in their position as citizens, consumers, users and decision makers in innovative processes.

Designed artefacts and services influence our lives and values, both from personal and societal perspectives. Designers, decision makers and investors hold different positions in the design process, but they all make choices that will influence new innovations and our future. In order to solve crucial global challenges, designers and investors must cooperate; for this purpose, we argue that design literacy is necessary for all. We argue that the Design Literacies can support practices associated with innovation, democratic participation in design processes, developing and enacting ethical responsibilities, and understanding and supporting sustainable aspects of production and consumption.

The track call for researchers to explore the following points:

  • How development of Design Literacy can support critical innovation and sustainable issues
  • Progressions in scaffolding Design Literacies from a pre-school to a university level
  • The potential of Design Literacy to support collaborative and experimental approaches of projects between: investors/designers, general public/designers, children/designers
  • How design education for the general public can represent both a foundation for professional design education and a prequalification for lay persons’ competence for decision-making and critical innovation
  • How might Design Literacy influence sustainability issues in society?
  • What are the challenges of professional design, when everyone wants to design?

Research addressing above points will be useful to promote critical innovation and to inform policy and educational implementation. The importance lies in the needs to better inform design education itself, to improve the approach of design educators, and to educate reflective citizens, policy makers, entrepreneurships and consumers in perspective of critical innovation.

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4:00pm - 4:25pm

Complexity, interdisciplinarity and design literacy

Tore Andre Ringvold, Liv Merete Nielsen

OsloMet University, Norway

In today’s complex world, a variety of perspectives are needed to better understand and solve challenges. For decades, global organisations and researchers have pointed to interdisciplinarity as a way forward for educational systems. Educational research offers great possibilities and gains for students involved in interdisciplinary teaching and learning processes, and the interdisciplinary nature of design thinking and practice can play a vital role in interdisciplinary general education. This paper explores how future scenario-building, as part of general design education, can serve as a framework for inter-disciplinarity in general education and contribute to a better understanding of complex problems, challenges and design literacy.

4:25pm - 4:50pm

Networking for strengthening design literacy

Irene Brodshaug, Janne Beate Reitan

Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

This article focuses on design education for the general public and the ways in which students and teachers can become more design literate through the development of networks, such as professional groups for teachers. The aim of professional groups is to create a structure that focuses on design competency among Design, Art and Crafts teachers as well as design education in Norway’s primary and secondary schools. Etienne Wenger's theories of community of practice and Unn Stålsett's theory about the development of networking through professional groups are highlighted in this study through the comparison of two municipalities in conjunction with informant interviews. The emphasis of this study is on how each municipality gives time and space for the development of design competence through professional groups. A well-organized professional group will hopefully contribute to a deeper level of expertise in schools and an increased ability for the general public to recognize design education.

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