BUILDING CROSS-BORDER COMMUNITIES: TRANS-NATIONAL INNOVATION DESIGN STUDENTS CREATE TRANS-CULTURAL INNOVATIONS AND A GLOBAL NETWORK OF PRACTICE
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Stevens, John Simon; Townsend, Hermione
Institution: Royal College of Art, United Kingdom
Section: New Design Education Paradigms
Design is increasingly an international or trans-cultural activity: tackling challenges that affect people and populations other than our own, involving creators and stakeholders from multiple nations and cultures, implemented across borders via networks and communities of knowledge, services, materials, manufacturing and distribution. In 2013 a new joint Masters course in innovation design began in London, as collaboration between centres of academic excellence in UK, USA and Japan. Students of many nationalities are based in London but spend two out of six terms overseas. This year the course has expanded to include a second track; when half the students go to Tokyo and New York, others head to Beijing and Singapore, then both rejoin in London for the final two terms of the course. On this journey students experience differing teaching styles, perspectives and specialisms around design, technology and innovation from world-class institutions, in immersive collaborations with students and faculty from diverse disciplines and cultures. This has resulted in the formation of a community of practice, knowledge and friendship in a network spanning the globe. The paper serves to update and expand on a previously published account of the programme , so it will briefly address major changes in structure, content and teaching approaches that have followed in this time. On the theme of Building Community, it outlines the rationale and philosophy of the course with global community at its heart, and its evolution over the first three and a half years into a network of past and present students, faculty and friends, with examples of community-embedded innovations that reflect the cross-cultural perspective enabled by the programme.