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DRSelects: Derek Jones, Pedagogy SIG Convenor on Learn X Design 2023

DRSelects: Derek Jones, Pedagogy SIG Convenor on Learn X Design 2023

This month, we hear from Derek Jones, Convenor of the DRS Education SIG (EdSIG). In his DRSelects, Derek tells us more about EdSIG's activities and highlights papers from the proceedings of Learn X Design 2023 which have recently been published on the DRS Digital Library.


1. Please introduce yourself, your role in the DRS and your research.

I’m Derek Jones and I am the Convenor of the DRS Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG). The Convening Group is a collaborative team who organises EdSIG (you can find us here). We also organise the biennial Learn X Design Conference series, tracks for the main DRS Conference series, and, when we get the time, other EdSIG events. 


2. Could you please give an introduction to your SIG, any recent events and any upcoming events you’d like to share?

The Education SIG (EdSIG) is one of the oldest DRS SIGs, reflecting the fact that most design researchers also work in educational institutions. 

We’ve just published the Proceedings from Learn X Design 2023 (available here) and are planning to restart the Futures of Design Education discussion series as soon as we’ve had a break (you can find past discussions here).

Apart from that, we are gearing up for DRS 2024 and are organising a few tracks on design education for that. Looking forward to seeing people in Boston!


3. What are some of the benefits of being involved in the DRS through a SIG? How can those who are interested in becoming part of your SIG learn more?

It’s been said before in this series, but finding a community that shares your interests and passion for a particular area of design can make a huge difference. You’re less isolated, you develop your ideas and thinking, and being part of a community driven by the same interests makes you better at what you do. In EdSIG, we are also one of the few spaces where design theory is really put into applied practice through us and our students – to teach design effectively, you have to know design in particular ways. 

For anyone interested in joining the SIG, you can either:


Please choose five items from the DRS Digital Library that you'd like to highlight.

I’m going to be cheeky and shamelessly publicise the Learn X Design conference series. Even worse, I’m going to pick some of the latest contributions to give a sense of what is happening in design education research right now, because I think it’s an exciting space to work in. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great papers in our archive – but there are also some really interesting and exciting contemporary works coming out of the design research community right now. 

Even worse, I’m not going to do this myself. In EdSIG we work very closely as a convening group. One of the best things about DRS and the networks around it is that you get to work with people who really care about specific subject areas - so the following are suggestions from the EdSIG Groupmind (Derek, Liv, Lesley-Ann, Naz, Nicole, and James)! 


The Work of Untutored Designers & the Future of Design Education

Authors: Elizabeth Boling, Kennon M. Smith

It’s been remarked many times that, even though we work in creative disciplines, we still don’t tend to make use of disciplinary assets as objects of knowledge. There is a tendency to prefer words when conveying knowledge and research (a strong logocentrism for all you Derridians out there). This is sometimes essential but it is worth asking whether this is the only, or best, way. This paper by two authors who have contributed many words to design education in the past, is a great example of an indisputable piece of knowledge that does not conform to normative, written forms. Not only that, it calls into question a core, unresolved issue in design education – how is it that expertise emerges in designers and who gets to say what that actually is. Have a look for yourself. Literally!


Mātauranga Moana: uplifting Māori and Pacific values of conceptualisation over western co-design constructs

Authors: Sonya Withers, Georgina Stokes

The English language still dominates the research world. One impressive example of integrating another language into a publication is Mātauranga Moana: uplifting Māori and Pacific values of conceptualisation over western co-design constructs by Withers and Stokes. Language is not only a medium for communication, it is a medium that shapes thoughts and thinking, and with this it shapes our values and beliefs. This paper honours the values and beliefs of Māori and Pacific people with respect to co-designing and research communication by using key terms from the Te reo Māori - Māori language - throughout their paper to criticise Western co-design methodologies and show the importance of Whakawhānaungatanga - a process of establishing meaningful relationships - in design education. 


Minutes of the Inaugural Disassembly – Patadesign School 1: Ethernity, Day 4 on Absolute 13, 149 P.E. (Sept. 20, 2021 vulg.) 

Authors: Isabella Brandalise, Henrique Eira, Søren Rosenbak

We loved that this Letter takes a tremendous creative and academic risk by presenting a paper in the format of the minutes of a meeting. This paper generated a significant amount of discussion among the reviewers and the committee. It is worth mentioning as it explores alternative formats to presenting ideas and embraces a form of creativity that the committee sought to encourage by introducing alternative formats.


The Decision

Author: Victor Udoewa

In "The Decision," Victor Udoewa takes us on a captivating journey into the life of a Nigerian design educator in a pluriversal future, where the very concept of design is interrogated for its inherent colonial baggage and (temporarily) substituted by the Ibibio word Nam. In this world, aural and arts-based methods of communicating research findings take precedence over written reports, indigenous research methodologies replace Western approaches, and Nam education centres primarily on agriculture and house-building activities, fostering intimate connections with indigenous communities. Whether this speculative narrative remains confined to fiction in the short term or quickly transitions into reality is uncertain. Nevertheless, it undeniably provokes deep thought and reflection about the futures of design education and research.

Blood, Sweat and Tears: A Design Education Research Publication Story

Author: Naz Börekçi

It's rare that you get a paper about us as authors and researchers, so it was interesting to read how, in Blood, Sweat and Tears: A Design Education Research Publication Story, Börekçi presents a rare and frank glimpse into the process of contemporary academic writing from the perspective of a design educator and scholar. This is a controversial work, as it was treated as a particular type of knowledge during the peer-review process; hence, it was judged naive and poorly informed. Indeed, the work candidly illustrates the challenging task of publishing research in the field of design education by an individual trained in design but unfamiliar with conducting and publishing research on design education. Design and design education are different, and the research methods in one area do not directly transfer to the other. This may be a common oversight among educators in higher education with research experience in their respective fields, presuming they possess the requisite knowledge to conduct research in education within their domain.

 April 03, 2024