DESIGNING WITH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE: AN EMERGING AREA IN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN EDUCATION AND PRACTICE
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Malmqvist, J.
Author: Ramirez, Mariano
Section: Design for X, Design to X
In recent decades, a growing number of those in the industrial design profession have shown concern for socio-ethical issues and pondering the impacts of their work on the planet and its peoples. While mainstream industrial design education and practice still clearly focuses on product-centric innovation, the increasing involvement of designers in activities that advance the betterment of humanity is undeniable. Some university design programs immerse students in developing countries and disadvantaged neighborhoods to learn to co-design appropriate solutions with communities. The professional design industry has also been supportive in engaging and contributing to this new area of social innovation. In line with this emergence of design for society, this paper reports on some of the studio projects at the Industrial Design Program at the University of New South Wales, which highlight design’s agency as a catalyst for social change. The studio briefs are discussed as case studies and the learning experiences gained and the reflections of students are analyzed and used as arguments for the continued and growing inclusion of social responsibility within the industrial design curriculum.