The Future of Design Education – A Discussion at Four Different Places

How should design education be structured, what should it involve to support students in pursuing successful careers? To what extent are current design curricula still fit for contemporary challenges in design? Or, is it necessary to move forward in a completely new direction? If there was a new design university that could draw from an abundance of resources without having to take older structures into consideration, what would be taught there and which teaching methods would be used?

Between March 2019 and February 2020, the iF Design Foundation hosted four conferences, or rather hearings, each one of which lasted for several days. The events were dedicated to the question of how future design teaching or design education must be structured.

In Gmund (Germany), in Pasadena (USA), in Kyoto (Japan) and in Johannesburg (South Africa) experts from a wide range of fields addressed the given questions ­– from students and teachers of various disciplines, from newcomers and experienced design managers to protagonists from the worlds of business and research.

The format chosen for each event was that of a hearing because the aim of the iF Design Foundation was to hear different voices and provide a platform for discussion. Accordingly, instead of holding lectures, discussion spaces were created in various constellations.

A catalog of 80 different questions served as inspiration and guideline for the hearings. The catalog was based on an international study conducted in 2016 by Prof. Dr. René Spitz.

The iF Design Foundation has published the results of the four hearings in the White Book on the Future of Design Education – Designing Design Education, due for publication in March 2021.