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Mainstreaming sustainability in design education – a capacity building framework.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Seite (von-bis):
– The purpose of the paper is to advance the understanding of the role design education plays in sustainable development. It presents a capacity building framework that can be accommodated in various levels of design curriculum development. The framework allows for a macro-view on the key clusters of competencies for ecodesign while allowing for alignment with quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluation and assessment. The proposed framework does not intend to be universally prescriptive, and it should provide a context for the development bespoke educational programmes and activities.

– The research utilises a variety of data sources and methods to provide answers to the research questions. Empirical data were collected through the course of a two-year programme of capacity building with design educators in Wales. This two-year programme incorporated a series of workshops and scoping discussions with teaching staff. Additional data were collected through a literature review and best practice scanning. Thus, the research did not follow a linear process. Instead, it was performed according to an iterative process, evolved by interaction between a theoretical foundation (capacity building, ecodesign education) and empirical material (workshops, literature review).

– Design education may need to situate itself away from the traditional art or engineering setting to facilitate greater interdisciplinary learning. This repositioning of design education will allow for multidisciplinary relationships with other schools and communities such as social science, business or planning. There will be a role for the promotion of international design institutes that provide a more concentrated experience of the value of design and design education.

Research limitations/implications
– This paper sought to explore the context of capacity for sustainable development as it relates to design education. It briefly highlighted some gaps in the literature on capacity building for ecodesign education along with proposing a conceptual framework of key competencies. The intention is to initiate a discussion on the means by which these can be integrated into mainstream design education, lifelong learning and entrepreneurship training.

– There is no similar framework presented in the literature. Much of the research originates from original research conducted with four universities in a unique programme of capacity building. The paper provides the basis for deeper insights into the interdisciplinary perspectives required. This is something the authors hope to report on this year.
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