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Design Against Crime: a research and curriculum development project

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posted on 12.02.2008, 17:17 by Tim Lewis, Colin Chapman
Design Against Crime is part of an education initiative spanning schools, universities and professional practice. The project is based at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the University of Salford. SHU is responsible for the school and higher education components. The project is funded by the Design Council and the Home Office. This paper concerns the research for, and the development of, curriculum materials, for use by design and technology teachers teaching the 11–16 age phase. The project had an open brief to develop materials which would focus pupils’ attention on combating crime through design and technology activities and project work. The research team’s starting point was David Hargreaves’ (Chief Executive of QCA) observation that ‘ design and technology is moving from the periphery of the school curriculum to its heart’.1 To facilitate this, the team developed a strategy to embody the current education initiatives of numeracy, literacy and ICT into the Design Against Crime project. However, the main purpose was to add value to design and technology teaching and practice by focusing attention on how design and technology could make a significant contribution to the emergence of National Curriculum citizenship. It was clear from the outset that the project’s aims would be in relation to the values that young people should be encouraged to adopt, and the notion that this could be achieved by engaging them in evaluating and considering the extent and the affects of criminal activity. Design Against Crime was not to be about catching or punishing offenders. To date the research has focused on the following: • Current, exemplar design and technology activities which, with appropriately focused further development, could provide a vehicle for Design Against Crime project work. Development has involved prototyping enhanced projects and considering and implementing new ways of presenting design and technology learning experiences to pupils. • Analytical and synthesis tasks which could be used by pupils to support their design and technology activity whilst enabling them to gain an insight into specific aspects of crime and the way that crime affects society as a whole as well as individuals, including themselves. This has been met by research into implementing of numeracy, literacy and the use of ICT. The objective being to develop strategies which will embed this good practice into the identified design and technology projects, thus adding value. • Searching available research data, principally through the Home Office data and publications, for statistics and information which could be used productively to add value to educational activities. This has become an indepth research and analysis of data, particularly crime issues, which are pertinent to the targeted 11–16 age phase. The searches revealed many interesting and useful sources of information which have subsequently been adapted for use in schools. This work has resulted in a series of pupil workbooks which provide enhanced design and technology activities and encourage pupils to take the following steps: 1. analyse and comment upon pertinent crime statistics 2. carry out structured design and technology projects which have an aspect of combating crime as a context 3. within that context reflect upon and evaluate the effects of criminal activity. Design Against Crime teaching and learning materials are currently being trialed, in schools, by teachers and the paper concludes with a commentary on their views of the project. 1 Speech at the London Institute of Education – ‘Towards Education for Innovation’ (2000)



  • Design

Research Unit

  • D&T Association Conference Series


LEWIS, T. and CHAPMAN, C., 2002. Design Against Crime: a research and curriculum development project. Design & Technology Association International Research Conference, 12-14 April, pp.131-139



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This is a conference paper