Taking on Australian Industrial design education: current practice and future directions

Draft abstract.

Mr. Stephen Trathen, University of Canberra Australia and Dr. Soumitri Varadarajan, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

There is much international discussion regarding the role of Industrial Design in a rapidly changing world, from the view to focus solely on the need for relevant design skills and knowledge as fundamental for employment; to a recognition that industrial design is having to work in a more complex environment and with an ever increasing need to be able to work with and have an understanding of other knowledge areas. This shift in practice has required design education to restructure, often as add ons and patchwork solutions (as they did with sustainability) – more rarely as brand new programs where the old emphasis upon skills is only faintly seen (as in the case of programs which emphasize interaction design) – to accommodate and reflect this change. And so programs and practitioners all over have taken upon themselves the challenge and come up with many solutions to deal with the situation in which ID ( a profession with its key constructs coming from the 1st industrial age) finds itself. As a result diversity proliferates and so does a lot of denigration of each other’s curricula and the resulting graduate capabilities. At this point both Australian industrial design practice and industrial design education flounder in the onslaught from new practice-constructs and the pervasive sucking-out of opportunity by new locales of industrial manufacture and therefore employment for traditional ways of product design practice. University educators find themselves in a period of reflection and renewal with competing factors vying for dominance the authors propose that there is no one ‘way’ – and through this paper explore the strands in the complexity and construct a way forward that privileges clarity and dialogue.

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By Soumitri Varadarajan

Soumitri lives in Melbourne, Australia - #probonodesign #codesign #sustainability #patientexperience #quantifiedself #mdg

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