Bridging the gap between local and global in design education: experience of the Arctic-based curriculum development

Lead Author Svetlana, Usenyuk
Institution Contact Ghent University Address: Department Industrial System and Product Design Faculty Engineering and Architecture Ghent University Campus Kortrijk Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5 8500 Kortrijk Belguim
Co-Authors Anna Mingaleva, Independent Researcher, Russia Nikolai Garin, Ural State University of Architecture and Art, Russia; Alexandra Rogova, Ural State University of Architecture and Art, Russia
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.4 Art, Design, Media and the Arctic - Marginalization, Power and Manifestations for Change
Datetime Fri, Sep 16, 2016 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text In discussion on the context and cultural relevance of design education, we refer to the example of the School of Arctic Design, i.e. an autonomous research unit inside the Department of Industrial Design, Ural State University of Architecture and Art, that hosts projects with focus on human adaptation and survival in extreme natural conditions of the Arctic regions. The program “Design for the Arctic/Far North” dated back in 1980s stemmed from enthusiastic projects inspired by a series of self-initiated student field trips to the Arctic and Siberian wilderness.
During its 30+ year-long evolution the core of the program has incorporated the following methods and principles: 1) fieldwork experience, i.e. personal immersion into established living systems of Arctic inhabitants, to become a primary source of inspiration and hands-on training for design students; 2) situated teaching/mentoring practices to encourage collaboration and co-creation of knowledge with local communities and among students themselves; 3) facilitation of multidisciplinary experts involvement to guide design development processes and improve contemporary practices; 4) geographical proximity of use and personalisation of meaning to ensure comprehensive usability of resulted design solutions.
In the course of the presentation, we introduce two projects / case studies each of those provides an insight into how firsthand exposure to people, environments, and cultures can enable students to consider design as a predominately localised and contextual practice.
In conclusion of the paper, we outline future challenges and priorities for the program and discuss its perspectives in the changing context of design education both at the national (Russian) and international levels, on the tide of the current interest in the Arctic.
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