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Design Pedagogy SIG

The Special Interest Group in Design Education (EdSIG) supports research to improve design education.

EdSIG brings together design researchers, teachers, practitioners, and anyone responsible for design education with a view to sharing and improving teaching practice informed by research and scholarship.

EdSIG organises the Learn X Design conference series, which has run biennially since 2011. The last event, LEARNxDESIGN 2021, was hosted by Shandong University of Art & Design, 24–26 September 2021. You can find details of all past events on this page.

EdSIG also organises a series of other events directly and with partner organisations. The Futures of Design Education series is a monthly presentation and discussion event open to all members. Other events, publications and items related to design education are posted on the DRS Education Discussion forum.


The DRS Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG)

The education of designers depends on particular forms of knowledge acquisition and application. Whether these are approached as experienced, contextualised, cognitive, grounded, or other forms of knowledge, they are all fundamentally human activities with all the complexity and contradiction that entails. Traditionally, such knowledge has been tacitly transferred but as the design school moved to places of formal education, communicating the value of this knowledge has been a challenge.

The DRS EdSIG aims to support the communication of the value of design education in all settings. We recognise that design education is carried out, experienced, and supported by a diverse range of educators and students. Supporting rigorous scholarship to inform this community is important; to enable and support the development and sharing of forms of knowledge that arise from the community is even more critical.

Design education is also provided in a diverse range of contexts, not only the higher education institution, but in pre-school, early years, as well as practice, adult learning, and other professional settings. It is important to firstly recognise and then support education research in these places, including the knowledge that can be gained from scholarship across these spaces.

Design education is a human activity with the complexity that accompanies such a milieu of objects, actions, relations, and other embodiments. Design education has always had to mediate the contradiction this brings in a formal educational setting. The challenges of offering a constructed, emergent learning experience are equaled by the responsibility this brings to ensure it is achieved appropriately.

As a SIG we aim to:

  • Support and promote rigorous research that improves all design education across all subject areas.
  • Recognise, represent and discover the plurality of design education as a situated and contextualised practice.
  • Help articulate and advocate the recognition of the value of design education in social and political contexts.


PedSig Biennial Conference: LearnXdesign


2021, Jinan: Challenges in Design Education

2021 saw the conference hosted in China for the first time, hosted by Shandong University of Art and Design in Jinan. The conference title and theme, Engaging with Challenges in Design Education, was particularly relevant given the global events of that year. The conference resulted in 91 submissions, including for the first time visual papers, from 39 countries around the world.

2021 LearnXdesign Proceedings: Volume 1 | Volume 2 |Volume 3 | Volume 4 |


2019, Ankara: Insider Knowledge

In 2019, the conference was hosted in by the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. The theme was Insider Knowledge and over 150 delegates from 81 institutions in 31 countries attended and contributed, highlighting the continued interest in design education research around the world. You can read a more detailed conference report here.

Full proceedings (on Google Drive)

Book of abstracts (direct download)


2017, London:

In 2017, the conference was held in Ravesbourne University, London. Titled, The Allure of the Digital and Beyond. It brought together researchers and practitioners with an international reach and from a wide variety of education design settings with the intention of connecting emergent models and ideas around the digital, with the scholarship of teaching and learning.

2017 LearnXdesign Conference website

2017 LearnXdesign proceedings.


2015, Chicago

The third DRS/CUMULUS conference entitled LearnXdesign was held in Chicago in 2015 It had an ambitious range of topics from theoretical research to practical application. With over two hundred delegates from a wide range of countries the conference was a successful springboard for sharing ideas and concepts about contemporary design education research and the teaching of design. The range and quality of the papers provided evidence of the vitality of research and scholarship in design pedagogy.

2015 LearnXdesign proceedings: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4


2013, Oslo: Design Learning for Tomorrow

The second DRS/CUMULUS conference was held in Oslo in May 2013. The theme of the conference was ‘Design Learning for Tomorrow- Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD’ Its theme of design was large and ambitious. The conference was intended to be an international springboard for sharing ideas and concepts about contemporary design education research. It was open to different facets of contemporary approaches to such research in any aspect and discipline of design education. With several hundred participants it was a great success and has led to several journal publications.

2013 LearnXdesign Conference website

2013 LearnXdesign proceedings: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4


2011, Paris: Researching Design Education

The first DRS/CUMULUS Symposium was held in Paris in 2011. Its overarching aim was to explore how innovation in education is informed by and is informing design research. The symposium focused on design education, innovation in general education through design, and on innovation in business and engineering education through design integration. It was successful and it marked the point at which the Design Pedagogy Special Interest Group became could be said to be established as an effective force in design research.

2011 LearnXdesign proceedings


Futures of Design Education series

The Futures of Design Education series of presentations and discussions brings together design educators to share, discuss and consider key issues in design education. The aim is to highlight and share the plurality of contemporary, global practice and issues, as well as how this may inform futures of design education.

Each event hosts a presentation or conversation starter followed by open discussion. Anyone interested in design education is welcome to attend and take part. The 2021 series of events can be found on the PedSIG Eventbrite page.

Recordings of all past events can be found on the  Futures of Design Education YouTube Playlist.



To join PedSIG, simply join the discussion group here.

To find out more information about  PedSIG activities, including information on hosting a future LearnXdesign conference, please contact Derek Jones.