Are we all designers?

DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Rodgers, Paul; Hall, Ashley; Winton, Euan; Land, Ellie; Aurisicchio, Marco
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Northumbria University, United Kingdom; 2: Royal College of Art; 3: Edinburgh Napier University; 4: Imperial College London
Section: Reflections on Creativity
Page(s): 454-459
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


Several design writers have proposed, or at least implied, that “…we are all designers…” through the way we manipulate the environment around us, select the items we wish to own, plan, build, buy, arrange, and restructure things all in a form of design [1, 2]. During the same time, design as a behavioural phenomenon has increased its capacity and breadth and as a result, design activity extends from the objects we use on a daily basis to cities, landscapes, nations, cultures, bodies, genes, political systems, digital existences, food production, the way we travel and even cloning sheep [3]. This paper reports on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project that seeks to explore current models of creative practice, examining where disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical, and methodological edges lie in an attempt to define the significant drivers of any movements across disciplinary boundaries. The project’s creative workshop activities have also facilitated comparison of the outputs between single-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary group working and has allowed the research team to explore how non-designers and designers alike transfigure creative space during practical design exercises. The outputs of the first workshop pose fundamental questions for the future of design education models based purely on disciplinary perspectives and furthermore questions whether current understandings of design thinking encompass more generalist human traits. The need to educate designers who can surf across disciplinary boundaries to tackle the 21st century’s emerging complex and wicked social [4], environmental and economic issues suggests a radical rethink against the individual and disciplinary based perspectives that largely prevail.

Keywords: Design thinking, disciplinarity, boundaries, creative workshops


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