The fourth international DRS / CUMULUS / ED-DESIGN Conference on Design Education - LearnXdesign 2017 - was held at the end of June 2017 at Ravensbourne in London, UK.
The opening keynote by Susan Orr (@Susan_K_Orr) superbly summarised the current landscape in design education, focusing on significant aspects of core design pedagogy and noting how these are being understood in our own discipline(s) as well as how they could transfer to other subject domains. Looking into the near future, she described design as continually developing, where “students are the definers of the discipline”.
On Thursday, keynote Jo Twist (@Doctoe) demonstrated just how significant the games industry in the UK is - both economically and as a discipline and professional endeavour. She observed that “play allows you to fail” before calling for even greater integration between the Arts and traditional (but unhelpfully segregated) STEM subjects that often lead game design.
The closing Keynote was given by Dori Tunstall (@Dori_Danthro) presenting how OCAD U are continuing to decolonise their curriculum and implement Respectful Design across their studios and processes. Echoing Orr’s Keynote observation, that the widening of design curricula must be a focus of design education in the coming years, Tunstall presented a positive and optimistic interpretation of how this can be achieved inclusively and without the ‘race to the bottom’ some may think it entails.
In between these keynotes were the usual range of interesting and well-researched presentations of papers, positions and works-in-progress from across the world. Anyone who has attended a LearnXdesign event will understand that it’s usually a group of really committed and passionate practitioners, coming together to share and expand their personal and collective knowledge in design education. In summing up the conference, Ravensbourne’s Gary Pritchard and Linda Drew reflected what delegates were thinking - it was, as always, the people who made the event.
A huge thank you to all of the Ravensbourne organisers and support staff who made the event so successful.
The conference proceedings will be available in the next few weeks.
The location for the next LearnXdesign conference in 2019 has yet to be confirmed so if any DRS members are interested or have any ideas for this then just get in touch with PedSIG lead Mike Tovey (firstname.lastname@example.org).