Design Research Education and Global Concerns.

Wilde, Danielle
She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation

If the ecosystems that we are part of and rely on are to flourish, we must urgently transform how we live, and how we imagine living. Design education has a critical role to play in this transformation, as design is a materially engaged, world-building activity. Design is complicit in the problems we are facing, and informs and shapes how people live. In this article, I seed ideas about design research education for global challenges. I speak to the merits of post-disciplinary and hybrid strategies, and look to science for clues about how to respond to twenty-first-century challenges through design. I posit sustainability brokering as a new pathway for design, and anticipating alternative futures as a critical step in developing transformative innovation. I then propose participatory research through design as a foundational methodology; describe four pillars of practice to scaffold sophisticated research at undergraduate and master’s level; and lay out a work plan for building research capacity in a doctoral school. Through this process, I articulate core skills that design researchers will likely require if they are to contribute to global challenges constructively. My aim is to seed fruitful regenerative discussion with these propositions.