Becoming designers with Earth: propositions for design education

Fountain, Wendy and Carleklev, Stephanie (2023). Becoming designers with Earth: propositions for design education. In: The 7th International Conference for Design Education Researchers (Jones, Derek; Borekci, Naz; Clemente, Violeta; Corazzo, James; Lotz, Nicole; Nielsen, Liv Merete and Lesley-Ann, Noel eds.), 29 Nov - 1 Dec 2023.



This paper is an account of a design inquiry grounded in teaching design processes with first year students in an international undergraduate design program. Guided by linked questions of how we foster consciousness of living and acting within planetary limits in the context of becoming designers, while shifting from modernist to planetary ways of being, the inquiry flows from critical engagement with a transdisciplinary scholar in the role of discussant. Three urgent propositions for design education emerge: 1) Live with, not on Earth; 2) Let go of being modern, and 3) Translate action with Earth. We discuss each proposition in the context of our co-teaching practice, potentially spurring critical reflection and seeding pedagogic strategies where fellow design educators find resonance. Equally, our propositions may well be challenged in reflection of pluriversal practices of design education as we experience intensifying Earth system destabilisation through the interlocking crises of the Anthropocene in diverse and increasinglyunjust ways.

Plain Language Summary

This paper reports on teaching design processes to first year students within current social and ecological crises. By collaborating with a scholar working with the climate emergency, it suggests three key concepts design education could address to change how designers' relate with Earth and the systems we depend on to live.

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