"Essentially what we teach the students now is...how to learn, we don't teach them knowledge, we teach them how to learn because that makes them adaptable"
-Dr. Gjoko Moratovski
In this episode Yorgo discusses the current state of design education in relation to practice with Dr. Gjoko Muratovski, Director of the Ullman School of Design at the university of Cincinnati and author of Research for Designers: A Guide to Methods and Practice. Gjoko is known for combining design thinking, social observation, and cultural theory with lean business principles and evidence-based research. He advises businesses on efficiency, human-centric design and innovation. He speaks with Yorgo about if design education should be focused on exploring a designer’s creative practice or more honed on preparing students to enter the professional world?
The advent of traditional design education can be traced back to the industrial revolution and in many ways has changed very little. Design education’s core tenets and philosophies continue to confront various global forces that influence and shape academic thinking. Educators are tasked with conveying and representing multiple (sometimes conflicting) perspectives surrounding studio practice and design approach as well as diverse cultural perspectives.
The process of engaging students with the design industry itself is an important one. In an ideal world, students would be prepared to hit the ground running professionally as they leave university. This means that academic curricula need to be broader than just the creative element of the design process. Students need to understand the importance of research, market strategy, trend forecasting and collaboration, these are vital skills necessary to employability.
During their discussion, Gjoko and Yorgo emphasize the importance of understanding and exploring the different socio, cultural and political contexts in which design operates. They touch on the established design rivalry between Europe and the US, as well as between various European design cultures. For example; Italy versus Scandinavia; how are things like the Italian climate and cultural heritage of Italy reflected in contemporary design? How is the same true for Scandinavian designers, where more time is spent indoors and the climate and culture are vastly different? Is an established universal design culture a way forward, or do we have more to gain by learning from individual regions?