DIVERSITY AS A COMMON FRAMEWORK. DESIGN TEACHING IN DIVERSE AND INTERDISCIPLINARY POSTGRADUATE COURSES
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Ferrarello, Laura Filippa
Institution: Royal College of Art, United Kingdom
Section: New Design and Engineering Education Paradigms
The MRes in Art & Design is a twelve months postgraduate full-time course launched in 2016. The course is aimed at students who want to advance and challenge the discipline through the practice of art and design research. In this paper I will describe how diversity is approached in one of the MRes Pathways, design, as a teaching platform that supports the development of interdisciplinary knowledge via the learning experience drafted by the curriculum and implemented by the students. The Design Pathway is one of the four MRes pathways representing the college’s schools, which weekly meetings build a multidisciplinary culture from the debates engineering, design, fine art, architecture and communication students exchange on research practice and methods. The pathway builds on this process and makes multidisciplinary interdisciplinary; students of different backgrounds (Engineering, Architecture, Product Design, Fashion, etc) are engaged in collaborative activities which aim to stimulate through the practice of design research self-criticality, reflection and questions. Some of the findings illustrated in this paper show how the engagement of staff and PhD/MPhil students across the different school’s MA courses contributes to support interdisciplinary and foster the intermingling of ideas; this blurs the discipline boundary and develops an interdisciplinary profile built upon the discussion and critics of the different practices through applied design research. The MRes Design Pathway becomes an experiential journey where research design methodologies provide the space for disciplines like engineering and fashion to learn from each other and fuse the respective knowledge in cohesive wholes. From the evidence given by students’ feedback the design pathway teaching model and curriculum have been proving to foster diversity as skill, identity and approach that students learn and develop throughout the course. This particular aspect of the curriculum makes the most of the impact in fostering and supporting a culture of interdisciplinary, which happens via a participative and active teaching leading towards the development of creative thinking in collaborative and interdisciplinary teams.