If we do not want design to become or remain “a branch of product development, marketing communication and technological fetishism”, it will have to move from having a reactive attitude to becoming proactive. Otherwise speaking, new perspectives will have to be put in place for the future. Further, if the profile of design professions remain status quos, these professions might soon cease to exist. Therefore, it is important to rethink design education for the 21st century.
Our present paradigm – the shared beliefs in consonance to which our educational, political, technological, scientific, legal and social systems function consist of the following key attributes: its materialistic underlying metaphysics; its positivistic methods of inquiry; and its agnosticist, dualistic worldview. Therefore, this is no exception for the disciplines of design. Movements that one experiences today in design can be attributed to one or all of the three central pillars: “effect of product engineering and marketing on design”; an exceedingly narrow philosophical anthropology to which leads one to consider the user as mere customer; an outdated implicit methodology of design practice and intelligence assumed from the nineteenth century; an overemphasis upon the material product; an asethetics based almost primarily on material shapes and qualities; a code of ethics originating in a culture of business contracts and agreements; a cosmology restricted to the marketplace; a sense of history conditioned by the concept of material progress; and a sense of time limited to the cycles of fashion and technological innovations or obsolescence. All these aspects have contributed to the present situation of design. However, regardless, it should still be deemed as essential footprints in its historical development.
With reference to this perspective, this paper will discuss on the following:
- What theoretical model of design could be used as a basis for education?
- What is an appropriate epistemology of design practice and its import on design methodology?
- How can the issue of ethics in design be problematized?
At present, everyone will be inclined to consent that it is essential to include art, science and technology in a design curriculum. However, disagreement may emerge with regards to their relative importance and their respective function. In addition, a highly critical aspect will naturally foster greater disagreement, a factor without which no curriculum will ever find its coherence: the overall purpose of design education and practice. Hence, the questions to cross-examined are: To which meta-project (anthropological, social, cosmological, etc.) does a design project and a design curriculum contribute? For what end is design a means? Can design find its raison d’être within its own field and remain autarchical? How autonomous can design be? All these questions are of relevance to the ethical dimension of design,
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