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Symposium on the future of design education
Kick-off event for the joint project with Die Neue Sammlung, Munich
The iF Design Foundation and Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum are launching a joint campus in anticipation of the XNUMXth anniversary of Die Neue Sammlung. The project started with a symposium on aspects of a future design curriculum. Featuring distinguished speakers, the event took place at the X-D-E-P-O-T of Pinakothek der Moderne.
The iF Design Foundation and Die Neue Sammlung have agreed on a joint program named “Designing Design Education – Impulse for a New Curriculum” that will run for three years from 2023. Together with international partner institutions, they will work on the further development of building blocks that can be used to update design studies. In the process, Die Neue Sammlung will become a public campus. The starting point is the universally expressed observation that design education needs to be updated in various respects. The project aims to provide design schools with a tested range of usable tools and references that they can draw upon to transform their programs. The project’s kick-off event took place on 27 October 2022 in the form of a symposium at the Pinakothek der Moderne. Michele De Lucchi, Annette Diefenthaler and Gareth Loudon discussed individual aspects of future design education.
Three stages to realize the model of a new design curriculum: a joint project by the IF Design Foundation and Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum
Currently the study of design seems to be largely committed to the past, while the non-academic reality is increasingly moving away in a different direction: practice is preceding education. The iF Design Foundation has been addressing the future of design education since 2015. It sees as the next logical step in its research the conception of models for a design curriculum that keeps pace with new developments. In 2021 the Foundation published its “Whitebook on the Future of Design Education,” based on the outcome of a six-year international research project. It is currently engaged in a comprehensive study on the public value of all German design degree courses.
“We are delighted to have the iF Design Foundation at our side, a partner that addresses how education for young designers can make them fit for the future.”
Prof. Dr. Angelika Nollert
Director of Die Neue Sammlung
Die Neue Sammlung is proving to be the perfect partner for the three-year campus project that has now been launched. Whereas one institution conducts intensive research on the topic, the other offers a platform for current design discourse. “We are delighted to have the iF Design Foundation at our side, a partner that addresses how education for young designers can make them fit for the future,” says Prof. Dr. Angelika Nollert, director of Die Neue Sammlung. “This complex and comprehensive process is also of great importance to us because it will influence the understanding and nature of design. In view of the XNUMXth anniversary of Die Neue Sammlung in XNUMX, it is important for us to also present the museum as an institution that accepts its responsibility for education. I am proud that an institution like Die Neue Sammlung is a lively place of exchange which explores not only past and present phenomena in design, but above all future positions.” Christoph Böninger, chairman of the iF Design Foundation, adds: “We could not have imagined a better partner than Die Neue Sammlung for the development and discussion of our education ‘prototype,’ it public place where design aficionados can gain insights into the topics that the design of the future and consequently design education must address.”
“The Future of Design and Design Education” symposium as kick-off event: food for thought on essential issues
Kicking off the campus project, Die Neue Sammlung and the iF Design Foundation hosted a public symposium on 27 October 2022 at the X-D-E-P-O-T of the Pinakothek der Moderne. First off, Michele De Lucchi (AMDL Circle, Milan) discussed "Design and Inspiration." Born in 1951, the Italian is one of the most significant designers and architects of our time. He has made history as co-founder of two important 20th century design movements: Alchimia and Memphis. He has designed furniture for the most renowned Italian and European companies and he has realized numerous architectural projects in Italy and abroad. From 2001 Michele De Lucchi taught at the IUAV in Venice; in 2008 he was appointed professor at the School of Design at the Politecnico of Milan and a member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.
"My conclusion from decades of teaching is that the most important source of inspiration is dialogue," says Michele De Lucchi. "And not only the dialogue between teachers and students, but also that between the knowledge and responsibility of each individual, in reflection of individual action." Another important source of inspiration cited by Mr. De Lucchi (who recently turned 70 and ended his professorship on that date in accordance with Italian statutes), was the willingness to deviate: "If you want to innovate, sometimes you have to go where no one else is going," he said. "Making mistakes in the process is not a problem, as long as you know when you have made a mistake." Finally, he described life itself as an important source of inspiration, because, "we don't just design objects or products, but the everyday interaction with them and thus the behavior of the users."
“If you want to innovate, sometimes you have to go where no one else is goes.”
Michele De Lucchi
AMDL Circle, Milan
How do you teach creativity? How do you teach emotional intelligence or trust?
Together with Annette Diefenthaler (IDEO, San Francisco) and Gareth Loudon (Royal College of Arts, London), Michele De Lucchi formed the panel that exchanged views on the future of design and design education. "Innovation has to be one of the main topics of design education, according to the results of our research," said host René Spitz, board member of the iF Design Foundation.
Starting the discussion, he turned to London design professor Gareth Loudon as an expert on teaching innovation. The key aspects, René Spitz said, are soft skills and emotional intelligence – from trust to respect to creativity and empathy. "But how do you teach trust? How do you teach emotional intelligence?" he asked Gareth Loudon. And to the panel in general: "How do we learn in the first place? When are we ready for it? What circumstances are required? What prerequisites must students bring with them? How must the concrete learning situation be designed? How do we teach and learn creativity? How important is creativity? Why is it necessary for the future of design education? What do we, as designers, need to know about anthropology, psychology, technology? And what do we learn from this knowledge with regard to improving design and the future of design education?"
Like Michele De Lucchi, Gareth Loudon is convinced that dialogue is an important tool in learning: "Listening to others, but also listening to yourself is essential in my opinion. Dialogue is not just about action, it should always be balanced with reflection." Teaching emotional intelligence was not easy, he said: "In our programs, we don't teach emphasize the importance of empathy. We also try to develop trust. By working in diverse teams, our students learn to listen with empathy to people who have backgrounds that are very different from theirs. Trust develops from this understanding."
Annette Diefenthaler's (IDEO, San Francisco) design practice is interdisciplinary. She specializes in "Design and Transdiscliplinarity," among other subjects. From January 2023, she will bring her expertise to the Technical University of Munich (TUM) as head of a new design institute. "Design is a discipline that must constantly evolve; transdisciplinarity therefore means an evolution of design practice," René Spitz said. He asked Annette Diefenthaler as to how we learn this in or through our studies. “How does design education have to change with regard to that? Designers have to apply their creativity to increasingly complex challenges that involve a high degree of responsibility. Do they acquire the right tools and the necessary wisdom for this in their education? How do design studies need to change with regard to these issues?"
Turning to Michele De Lucchi, who describes himself as a designer who thinks with a pencil in his hand ("Thinking with Hands"), René Spitz asked: "This interplay of hand and head, the interdependence of imagination and expression – to what extent do students have to master this before they enroll on a course? What do they need to learn in terms of craftsmanship during their studies? And how will artificial intelligence affect that?"
“Design is a discipline that must constantly evolve.”
IDEO, San Francisco
An outlook on the iFDF x Die Neue Sammlung 2023-2025 campus project:
Upcoming dates and events
Christoph Böninger, chairman of the iF Design Foundation, concluded the discussion by thanking the panel for their input and ideas. "The discussion has outlined important questions. Providing answers to these issues is what we see as our homework for the next few years," said Mr. Böninger. "Even though we can't provide answers at this point, we've made you all aware tonight of the issues we need to discuss as part of the Campus Project." He gave a preview of the next steps in the project, which will run until 2025 – the 100th anniversary of Die Neue Sammlung. Three events (parts of which by invitation only; other parts open to the public) are planned for 2023: on the agenda for March XNUMX is the topic "Learning and Teaching Sciences". This will be followed by "Upskilling" in June and "Public Value" in October. For each event, the last day will be open to the public, said Christoph Böninger and invited the audience to come again to the X-D-E-P-O-T of the Pinakothek der Moderne.
From left to right: Christoph Böninger, Gareth Loudon, Annette Diefenthaler, Angelika Nollert, Michele De Lucchi, René Spitz.
— All photos: Steven Stannard. © iF Design Foundation