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AIGA GAIN: Rethinking Design Education

In October, the Design Educators Community hosted a seminar on “Rethinking Design Education” as part of the AIGA GAIN Conference in NYC.

Liz Danzico, chair of the M.F.A. in Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts, started the seminar off with a hands-on workshop that explored evolving models for design education. Working in groups, participants considered, “What will impact tomorrow’s education?”  using templates supplied by Danzico. The resulting discussion ranged from “affordable, accessible education,” to “co-creation,” to “cross-pollination and interdisciplinarity, to “the crafting of classroom experience.”



Danzico’s workshop was followed by a panel of design educators moderated by Haakon Faste.

Each panelist presented their perspective on the future of design education and then posed a question to the gathering. Panelist questions and key slides appear below.  The discussion began by defining design education clearly as “education” not “training” and then moved to scaffolding co-creative, participatory experiences. The panel took a bit of an odd turn—as all great panels do—when the Singularity crept into the dialogue….How do we prepare students for a post-evolutionary future?

“What is your Material?”
Allan Chochinov, Partner of Core 77; Chair of the MFA in Products of Design, School of Visual Arts


How can participatory design play out in the classroom?
Helen Armstrong, Graduate Director of Experience Design, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Miami University


“How can educators make collaborative work not simply active, but reflective, and with career-long values?”
Laurie Churchman, Principal at Designlore, Adjunct Faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Philadelphia University.


Cameron Tonkinwise, Associate Professor and Director of Design Studies, the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University


“What’s the future of Interaction Design… and how do we teach it?”
Haakon Faste, Assistant Professor Interaction Design, California College of the Arts



To read more about the panelists visit the speaker section of the GAIN site.

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