Abstract

Historically, the design discipline has been strictly connected to the productive sector. For this reason, past design education was mainly related to the world of arts and crafts and technology. With such a vertical specialization, designers could not deeply grasp the potential repercussions of their design choices. Their commitment was largely tied in with mass-production and unconstrained technological innovation. Increased awareness of the complexity of the world has raised in the last decades. Designers nowadays are requested to achieve new transversal skills and competencies, to cope with the incumbent metamorphoses of cultures, societies, economies, and natural environments. Thus, a linear mono-disciplinary outlook is not anymore adequate in design pedagogy. Educators need to embrace a holistic approach and to activate new collaborations, to train experts capable of configuring and managing complex design activities. This paper analyses the rise of systemic thinking and its reverberations on design studies, with an overview of geographical and temporal contributions. It invites to reflect on the role of present-day designers and on the importance of embedding humanistic and economic values in the design knowledge. Furthermore, it illustrates the directions for a systemic transdisciplinary education in Master’s degree programs and Ph.D. courses in Design, aimed at providing the necessary tools to a new and responsible generation of professionals. The awareness of their important and influential roles in society should be inspiring and lead to the creation of innovative entrepreneurial activities.

Keywords:

systemic design, transdisciplinary education, awareness, societal influence, relational mediation

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Jul 9th, 12:00 AM

Transdisciplinary Knowledge: A Systemic Approach to Design Education

Historically, the design discipline has been strictly connected to the productive sector. For this reason, past design education was mainly related to the world of arts and crafts and technology. With such a vertical specialization, designers could not deeply grasp the potential repercussions of their design choices. Their commitment was largely tied in with mass-production and unconstrained technological innovation. Increased awareness of the complexity of the world has raised in the last decades. Designers nowadays are requested to achieve new transversal skills and competencies, to cope with the incumbent metamorphoses of cultures, societies, economies, and natural environments. Thus, a linear mono-disciplinary outlook is not anymore adequate in design pedagogy. Educators need to embrace a holistic approach and to activate new collaborations, to train experts capable of configuring and managing complex design activities. This paper analyses the rise of systemic thinking and its reverberations on design studies, with an overview of geographical and temporal contributions. It invites to reflect on the role of present-day designers and on the importance of embedding humanistic and economic values in the design knowledge. Furthermore, it illustrates the directions for a systemic transdisciplinary education in Master’s degree programs and Ph.D. courses in Design, aimed at providing the necessary tools to a new and responsible generation of professionals. The awareness of their important and influential roles in society should be inspiring and lead to the creation of innovative entrepreneurial activities.

 

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