Future Wellbeing: Design or Politic Driven
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Alan Roy Crisp, James Dale, Holly Curtis
Institution: Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
The authors are principal lecturers in product design within Higher Education [HE]; Curtis is currently a final year honours student associated with their course and two programmes of research which are being carried out pertinent to product design education participation within their institution; the results of which may provide direction to curricula development and forecasting of student profiles [applications; subject choices etc.] and subject change, and most importantly subject and programme health. The first area investigates student profiles by course, focusing on a timeline apposite to design teaching, course development and student numbers, applicable to design education within HE and the authors’ institution in particular. Through analysis of the decline of design engineering and the development of eclectic product design programmes, it is deemed possible to evaluated and hence determine catalysts and agents of change. The second investigates and intends to map the changes in direction of government initiatives to Higher Education [HE]. Interestingly studies are taking place regarding the correlation of one to the other. A third area of research has recently been initiated regarding the IED conference themes, their perceived relevance to design thinking and societies ‘future wellbeing’. The hypotheses of this third area proposes that by comparison of two of the three streams of research, benchmarked against the third the drivers of societal and education change will be identified i.e. government, professional institutions or HE. One questions, since 1970 have HE and the professional bodies instigated change or have they adopted and changed focus and rationale, driven by the government not in a desire for ‘future wellbeing’ but to survive, in this specific discipline area of design; as HE itself becomes more business focused and dependent on the underpinning of internationalism. Whether this reaction means they provide programmes which affect in a positive manner the wellbeing of society or the country’s economic wellbeing, or both is open to question.
It is seen as timely therefore, as the educational fraternity await the outcome of the deliberations on the statutory future of Design Technology teaching in our schools that the hypotheses driving the first and second stream of research could result in a thesis proposing a method to limit the dangers, in terms of recruitment, student profiles etc. to HE institutions by a perceived slow reaction to government change.