Our New Feature Series: “Shaping Design Through Education”
Design and education are both, in a sense, about the shaping of things. The lines and contours of our built environment, the elegant curves of our diagrams, the molding of minds. Perhaps what they share most closely in this regard is a sense of a shared future – what we do now shapes the course of what’s to come, and the world in which we and those who come after us will live. That, in essence, is the premise of designing for impact: the notion that through a conscious and thoughtful process – and with just the right amount of hubris and humility – we can impact the world in profound and positive ways and help create a more just and sustainable future.
But what of impact design’s own future? How do we shape that? What are the forces already at play and the ones that will emerge and transform both the theory and practice of a field still very much taking its first tentative steps?
These are the questions that inspired our new feature series on the education of impact designers – “Shaping Design Through Education.” We wanted to know how design education is changing and transforming social impact from a warm, fuzzy extra to an integral and essential building block of curriculum and practice; how global trends and collaboration are moving us away from a conception of design dominated by western thought and institutions, and how the conscious application of impact design principles is emerging both within the halls of the academy and on the new frontiers of online and experiential education.
Our journey takes us from the present to the future, across continents and disciplines, and deep into new models for a transforming economy and a changing climate. It covers everything from sustainability to bio-mimicry, from the efforts of makers to the struggles of social entrepreneurs. What does a distinctly “African” impact design curriculum look like? How is global cooperation redefining the need for cultural literacy in students? Will the classroom and the final project give way to the streets and the embedded creative? Are diplomacy and sociology becoming as important to a designer as form and function?
Our aim, like any good educator, is not necessarily to come up with all the answers, but to raise the most pressing questions. We hope you’ll read the coming features and interviews with interest, enlighten us with news of other projects and initiatives, and leaven the debate with your own insights and opinions. We all have much to learn, especially from one another. The shaping of things is never a passive process.
Read the first installment in our education series – The Future of Impact Design Education.