Abstract

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study about how design students cope with culture in the i-do (international design opportunity) series of international design workshops in Hong Kong. We wanted to learn three things. (1) To what extent do the design students from different nations share common cultural values? (2) what difficulties do design students encounter in this type of workshops, and what techniques and strategies do they use to cope with (cultural) barriers? and (3) what opportunities (personal benefits) do they identify to attend this type of workshop? The results and conclusions are based on experiences of i-do students (69 in total) derived from questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and literature. The study shows that students easily recognize barriers that can be explained by differences in cultural values, and that they come up with a variety of solutions. They need extra time to understand each other’s frame of reference and rethink the design approach, rules and norms for cooperation, the frame of reference they use to understand their intended users and the meaning their designs may evoke. They also need extra time for personal learning to adapt to their team members. We conclude that the discussion among students on the manifestation of the design is underexposed and that there are many opportunities for educators to provide them the tools and techniques that support them to cope with culture. Students see international design workshops as an investment in their careers.

Keywords

culture, design, design education, international design opportunity

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Designers Coping with Culture in an Educational Setting

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study about how design students cope with culture in the i-do (international design opportunity) series of international design workshops in Hong Kong. We wanted to learn three things. (1) To what extent do the design students from different nations share common cultural values? (2) what difficulties do design students encounter in this type of workshops, and what techniques and strategies do they use to cope with (cultural) barriers? and (3) what opportunities (personal benefits) do they identify to attend this type of workshop? The results and conclusions are based on experiences of i-do students (69 in total) derived from questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and literature. The study shows that students easily recognize barriers that can be explained by differences in cultural values, and that they come up with a variety of solutions. They need extra time to understand each other’s frame of reference and rethink the design approach, rules and norms for cooperation, the frame of reference they use to understand their intended users and the meaning their designs may evoke. They also need extra time for personal learning to adapt to their team members. We conclude that the discussion among students on the manifestation of the design is underexposed and that there are many opportunities for educators to provide them the tools and techniques that support them to cope with culture. Students see international design workshops as an investment in their careers.

 

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