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Sustainable and responsible design education: tensions in transitions

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journal contribution
posted on 30.05.2022, 07:59 by Joanna BoehnertJoanna Boehnert, Matt SinclairMatt Sinclair, Emma Dewberry
Sustainable and Responsible Design (SRD) harnesses design’s potential to address eco-social problems and in doing so challenge the status quo of design education by reframing the social and ecological consequences, boundaries and agencies of design. This critical and transdisciplinary approach frays the edges of traditional design disciplines with embedded and reflexive modes of learning. We describe characteristics of SRD education and present theories of learning to empower students in this complex terrain. The learning associated with SRD education is ecologically engaged, participative, critical, expansive and designerly. We recount case studies of our own experiences advancing sustainable and responsible undergraduate design education in the UK. We identify path constraints such as disciplinary fragility, appropriation, and power dynamics in the design school. The push for a revision of priorities generates tensions where there is often greenwashing rhetoric of sustainability and inclusivity. We describe strategies and tactics to address these tensions. We highlight the agency we have as educators and designers and argue that design education can only meaningfully participate in response to the challenges presented by climate change, other types of ecocide, and social problems when educators make substantive commitments to supporting sustainability literacies and design approaches that serve the interests of diverse stakeholders.

History

School

  • Design and Creative Arts

Department

  • Creative Arts
  • Design

Published in

Sustainability

Volume

14

Issue

11

Publisher

MDPI AG

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

18/05/2022

Publication date

2022-05-24

Copyright date

2022

eISSN

2071-1050

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Joanna Boehnert. Deposit date: 27 May 2022

Article number

6397