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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

Re: Design education and the ego

From:

Cindy Kohtala <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 08:18:34 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

Hi Karthik,

My two euro cents, at risk of misunderstanding your question:
first, in traditional product design education it's been clear that
personalities have had their impact (I'll use the word 'personality'
rather than 'ego') - look at Kai Franck's impact on his Finnish design
students (which has been documented, if not systematically, at least
through interviews, exhibitions, etc.). Maybe that's not what you were
talking about though.

Do students carry a certain baggage because of their disciplinary
backgrounds? Yes. Look at e.g. Leiviskä's examination of the
multidisciplinary International Design Business Management study
programme in what is now Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland). The
pedagogical methods need to take it into account - the different
learning and teaching styles the students have encountered previously
- and we are also constantly testing and improving this (or trying to)
in the Creative Sustainability Master's Programme (also
polydisciplinary).

I'm not sure if you are now referring to the ego (or 'personality') of
a particular student and her disciplinary background or the impact of
the educator and her personality - but responsible educational
programmes would take both into account - not even as
ego/personality/influential person but as the disciplinary 'baggage',
'mindset', value set, etc. the person comes in with. For example in
sustainability education Carew and Mitchell point out that studies
have shown how teachers pass on their own assumptions and frameworks
to students - in sustainability it's important that this is made
transparent so the students know why the assumptions are as they are.

This surely has implications for 'technological product development'
in participatory design processes - what gets designed and why - but I
can't tell you how systematically this has been studied. So in
essence, I haven't answered your question at all, have I? ;)

Carew, A.L. and C.A. Mitchell (2008) ‘Teaching sustainability as a
contested concept: capitalizing on variation in engineering educators’
conceptions of environmental, social and economic sustainability’,
Journal of Cleaner Production (16): 105-115.
Leiviskä, E. (2001) Creative Interdisciplinarity: Engineering,
Business, and Art&Design Students’ Collaboration and Learning in the
International Design Business Management (IDBM) Program, Research
Report 227, Doctoral Dissertation (Faculty of Education, University of
Helsinki).

Cindy Kohtala
doctoral candidate
NODUS Sustainable Design Research Group
Aalto University

> and the question is if and when students carry a certain baggage because of
> their disciplinary backgrounds and if this gets handled as a matter of pedagogy
> especially in design education.

> As if the employment of more participatory
> processes that I again conveniently understand, as having resulted from a parallel
> evolution of methods and technological product development, had no role in
> brushing aside the discussion of the ego for these days. So are the differing
> procedures employed by different design disciplines providing varying
> disciplinary ‘baggage’? And if this is an issue encountered by the more
> experienced faculty here, I was hoping to understand how this has been looked
> at systematically and historically.


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