On this page you will find information about the key conference dates; joining fees; outlines for each of the tracks; submission types, submission template and link to the conference submission portal.

To encourage early career researchers from the Global South to contribute to development of the field of Design Education the SUAD President Professor Pan made a commitment to advance this cause by providing bursary awards available specific to these scholars. Please read more about the SUAD President’s bursary awards for early career researchers from the Global South below.

Below you will also find a link which will enable you to download a blind submission template to format your contribution which you will need to submit as PDF by 30th March 2021 on the conference management system https://www.conftool.com/learnxdesign2021
You can always get in touch by emailing us on lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Call for SUAD President’s bursary awards for early career researchers from the Global South Applications

Application for the SUAD President’s bursary awards for early career researchers from the Global South is open. Ten selected applicants will provided with complementary conference places, in addition for five bursary awardees 5 nights accommodation will be provided.

The deadline to apply for one of the SUAD President’s bursary awards is Tuesday 20 April 2021.

Edibility to apply are for those prospective conference participants who are:

  1. currently located in one of the ‘Global South’ countries: the Central and South America; Africa; and any additional countries listed in the DAC List of ODA Recipients: Effective for reporting on 2020 flows table available from this link http://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/DAC-List-of-ODA-Recipients-for-reporting-2020-flows.pdf
  2. (2b) currently undertaking a full-time PhD/Master OR (2c) completed a PhD/Master degree within the past five years OR (2d) gained an employment at a University within the past five years.

How to apply:

1) Register your interest on the conference management portal https://www.conftool.com/learnxdesign2021/

2) select Your Submissions

3) select SUAD President’s Bursary Awards for Early Career Researchers from the Global South

4) in the abstract text box please outline the following:

  • your eligibility regarding your current location
  • your edibility related to your status (see the edibility criteria)
  • reasons for why you should be allocated one of the bursary awards

We encourage prospective authors to apply for one of these prestigious awards.

Call for Contributions

Invited international scholars articulated eleven track themes addressing the general conference theme of Engaging with Challenges in Design Education. The tracks form the backbone for the LxD.2021 Call for Contributions.

You are encouraged to explore the listed Tracks’ Outlines in more detail including the list of four submissions categories requirements.

Please also explore requirements for each of the four submission category types:

Regardless of the submission category you will select, all the contributions will be double blind reviewed. All the accepted submissions and delivered at the conference will be include in edited Conference Proceedings. The Conference Proceedings will be assigned ISBN, and all the contributions will available as online open access.

LxD.2021 logo

Tracks Outlines

Outlines for each of the eleven track themes can be viewed by selecting the individual track’s title. The track outlines provide scope for each of the tracks.

Úrsula Bravo, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile
Catalina Cortés, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile
Jeannette LaFors, Kelefors Consulting, USA
Andrés Téllez, UTADEO, Colombia
Natalia Allende, Design for Change, Chile

Paper, Case Study and Workshop submissions
Track’s lead contact Úrsula Bravo ubravo@udd.cl

As educators increasingly adopt design thinking outside of design disciplines, we are interested in better understanding the impact of incorporating the approach on students’ learning experiences and developing their skills and knowledge.
On a general level, in this track, we seek submissions that will support exploring how children, youth, teachers, and leaders in schools, universities, and other educational contexts have taken up design thinking and other design-based models. We seek full papers, case studies, and workshop submissions. Below, we provide a background and some questions, which can guide new explorations on the topic.


According to Schön (1998), despite the differences between the various professional activities, there is a generic process underlying all professions that deal with solving complex problems. For him, activities such as architecture (and, of course, design) could serve as a prototype for other professionals to develop problem-framing skills. Perhaps this would explain the proliferation of methods and tools based on design applied to professional areas such as business, healthcare, and education.
Design has gained popularity to address complex problems and foster innovation in different contexts, including general educational settings. During the last decade, a growing number of academic and professional publications have reported diverse experiences where design thinking-based methods and tools are used to address pedagogical issues, both at the K-12 and the higher education levels. Some examples of these design-based methods or tools include Design Thinking for Educators toolkit, Henry Ford Learning Institute model, Design for ChangeThe Compass, and FabLab Teacher Studio.
Design thinking-based learning has been described as a type of learning-by-doing methodology that enables students to integrate knowledge from different areas through problem-solving. It has the power to flip students’ mindsets from passive and tentative toward active and decisive (Goldman & Kabayadondo, 2017). Its use is focused on developing thinking skills –such as problem-solving, inquiry, and creativity– and socio-emotional skills –such as empathy, collaboration, self-efficacy, and frustration tolerance by embracing ‘failure’ as part of the learning experience (Carroll et al., 2010; Carroll, 2015; Retna, 2016; Woo et al., 2017; Zupan et al., 2018).
At the teacher level, Henriksen (2017) states that design thinking can provide an accessible structure for teachers to address a wide variety of daily teaching problems creatively. Design thinking can operate on multiple levels: both to help teachers think through issues of practice and a methodology through which to ground students’ learning. At the school leader level, Mintrop, Orders, and Madero (2018) suggest that design-based approaches have the virtue of integrating improvement dynamics from outside the school –such as new education policies– with school improvement initiatives coming from teachers and school leaders.
At the higher education level, Davis (1998; 2004; 2017) argues that design-based teaching and learning can promote critical and creative thinking, as well as many other “Twenty-First Century Skills” (i.e., creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and other essential skills to tackle the complexity of the new challenges facing humanity). This invitation opens questions such as: How this might be operationalized?, What are the core design competencies to introduce in general education?, When and how should these competencies be introduced?, Who should be responsible for introducing these competencies?.
There is no doubt that design provokes enthusiasm, but we wonder to what extent the expectations that motivate its application in the educational context are being fulfilled.
Cortés, Adlerstein & Bravo (2020) suggest that models of design thinking available for teachers do not necessarily incorporate tacit pedagogical knowledge or unexpected decisions that unfold when teachers design and deliver learning experiences. Described phases in these models do not include pedagogical thoughts, intuitions, ideas, and uncertainties around learning experiences. Further understanding of teachers’ design thinking black box would also contribute to reconceptualizing the available design thinking models for teachers.


  • What does design thinking contribute to the teaching-learning process compared to other strategies such as project-based learning or problem-based learning?
  • What skills do design thinking-based teaching strategies develop, and how are they evaluated and articulated within the curriculum?


  • Could design be considered a critical concept that links teachers’ content knowledge with teachers’ pedagogical knowledge?
  • What are the convergences and divergences between teaching practices and design thinking? Do teachers see themselves as designers?
  • Which design-based teaching methods have been most effective for teachers, in what areas of the curriculum, and at what educational levels?
  • What barriers do educational systems impose on educators attempting to implement design-based teaching strategies?
  • What can designers learn by observing the design processes that teachers utilize to create productive learning environments?

Schools and universities heads and leaders

  • What design-based tools and methods have school leaders used, and with what results?
  • Why have these methods been adopted, and how have they been applied and adapted?
  • How can design help teachers and communities formulate solutions to problems?


Aflatoony, L., Wakkary, R., & Neustaedter, C. (2018). Becoming a Design Thinker: Assessing the Learning Process of Students in a Secondary Level Design Thinking Course. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 37(3), 438–453. https://doi.org/10.1111/jade.12139

Carroll, M. (2015). Stretch, Dream, and Do-A 21st Century Design Thinking & STEM Journey. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 1(1), 59–70. http://j-stem.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/5_Carroll.pdf

Carroll, M., Goldman, S., Britos, L., Koh, J., Royalty, A., & Hornstein, M. (2010). Destination, Imagination & The Fires Within: Design Thinking in a Middle School Classroom. The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 29(1), 37–53.

Cortés, C., Adlerstein, C., & Bravo, Ú. (2020). Early childhood teachers making multiliterate learning environments: The emergence of a spatial design thinking process. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 36(June), 100655.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2020.100655

Davis, M. (2017). Teaching Design: A guide to curriculum and pedagogy for college design faculty and teachers who use design in their classrooms. Allworth Press.

Davis, M. (2004). Education by Design. Arts Education Policy Review, 105(5), 15–20.

Davis, M. (1998). Making a case for design-based learning. Arts Education Policy Review, 100(2), 7–15.

Goldman, S., & Kabayadondo, Z. (2017). Taking design thinking to school: How the technology of design can transform teachers, learners, and classrooms. Routledge.

Henriksen, D., Richardson, C., & Mehta, R. (2017). Design thinking: A creative approach to educational problems of practice. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 26(March), 140–153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.10.001

Mintrop, R., Órdenes, M., & Madero, C. (2018). Resolución de problemas para la mejora escolar: el enfoque del design development. In J. Weinstein & G. Muñoz (Eds.), Cómo cultivar el liderazgo educativo. Trece miradas (1st ed.). Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales.

Retna, K. S. (2016). Thinking about “design thinking”: A study of teacher experiences. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 36(0), 5–19.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2015.1005049

Schön, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books.

Woo, Y., Yoon, J., & Kang, S. J. (2017). Empathy as an element of promoting the manifestation of group creativity and survey on empathic ability of Korean elementary school students. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(7), 3849–3867. https://doi.org/10.12973/eurasia.2017.00761a

Zupan, B., Cankar, F., & Setnikar Cankar, S. (2018). The development of an entrepreneurial mindset in primary education. European Journal of Education, 53(3), 427–439. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12293

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Eva Lutnæs, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Karen Brænne, Volda University College, Norway
Siri Homlong, Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Sweden
Hanne Hofverberg, Malmö University, Sweden
Ingvill Gjerdrum Maus, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Laila Belinda Fauske, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Janne Beate Reitan, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

Track’s lead contact Eva Lutnæs evalu@oslomet.no

This track call is a continuum of the DRS//Cumulus-conference 2013 with the overall theme Design Learning for Tomorrow – Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD. The Oslo conference in 2013 framed design education for all as a game changer: To promote sustainability and meet global challenges ahead, the professional designers are dependent on the critical and informed consumer—a design literate general public (OsloMet, 2013, Nielsen et al., 2015). Design Literacy is connected to both the creation and the understanding of design in a broad sense (Nielsen et al., 2019; DesignDialog, n.d; Research group Design Literacy, n.d.; Design Literacy International Network, n.d.). In this track call, we coin critical to the concept of design literacy drawing upon a tradition of transformative learning and the vital distinction of reflection and critical reflection. Reflection operates towards improvements in an established field of practice—the how of action—while critical reflection addresses the why of action and aims for a profound change in our attitudes and actions (Mezirow, 1990). In other words, critical reflection is vital to allow a more radical systems change: to question, rethink and transform current knowledge and cultural practices. In this track, we invite design researchers and educators to explore and crack open critical design literacy as a subset of design literacy. At the core of critical design literacy, we suggest the ability to connect to real-world dilemmas with empathy, reject destructive products of human creativity and focus on problems that are worth solving.

Back in 1992, David Orr stated the need for an epistemological shift “…against the test of sustainability our ideas, theories, sciences, humanities, pedagogy and educational institutions have not measured up” (Orr, 1992, p. 83). Thirty year later, the need for a shift is ever more pressing—the Sustainable Development Goal Index 2020 reveals that major challenges remain (Sachs et al., 2020). Designers, policy makers, investors and consumers all make choices that influence future visual and material culture—the mitigation or continual growth of pollution, overconsumption and social inequalities (Lutnæs, 2017). How might design education empower the young generation to imagine society and everyday living differently, and to opt for sustainable design and responsible consumption? How might design education empower for ethical sensitiveness, transformative practices and to tackle wicked problems ahead?

We invite you to explore the current practices, academic discourses and implications of design education empowering for critical design literacy at a specific level of education or across levels (kindergarten to PhD). We seek full papers, case studies and workshop submissions. Below we provide some questions of interest, but welcome other ideas to explore the topic of critical design literacy:

  • How might design education provide an arena to question, rethink and transform current knowledge and cultural practices towards more sustainable ways of living?
  • How might the abilities of critical design literacy be articulated for the general public and/or for the professional designer? 
  • What are the current academic discourses of critical reflection across levels of design education, or across fields of art, design, craft and technology?
  • What distinguishes practices of critical reflection within the field of design compared to other disciplines (artists, engineers, craftsmen)?
  • How does the role of design education change empowering for critical design literacy, what are the ethical dilemmas involved?  
  • What design briefs and exercises might support the development of critical design literacy?

Indicative References

DesignDialog (n.d). https://www.designdialog.no/

Design Literacy (n.d.). https://www.oslomet.no/forskning/forskningsgrupper/design-literacy

Design Literacy International Network (n.d.) http://designliteracy.net/

Lutnæs, E. (2017). Responsible creativity in design education. In A. Berg, E. Bohemia, L. Buck, T. Gulden, A. Kovacevic, & N. Pavel. In Proceedings of E&PDE 2017 – International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future (pp. 668-673). The Design Society. https://hdl.handle.net/10642/5668

Mezirow, J. (1990). Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning. Jossey-Bass Inc.

Nielsen, L. M., & Braenne, K. (2013). Design Literacy for Longer Lasting Products. Studies in Material Thinking, 9, 1-9. http://www.materialthinking.org/sites/default/files/papers/SMT_V9_07_KarenBra­enne_LivNielsen_0.pdf

Nielsen, L. M., Brænne, K., & Maus, I. G. (2015). Design Learning for Tomorrow — Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD. FormAkademisk – forskningstidsskrift for design og designdidaktikk, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/formakademisk.1409

Nielsen, L. M., Lutnæs, E., Porko-Hudd, M., Bravo, Úrsula, Cortés, C., Assoreira Almendra, R., & Bohemia, E. (2019). Track 6.b Introduction: Design Literacy enabling Critical Innovation Practices. In Conference Proceedings of the Academy for Design Innovation Management, 2(1), 1291–1294. https://doi.org/10.33114/adim.2019.6b

Orr, D. W. (1992). Ecological literacy: Education and the transition to a postmodern world. State University of New York Press.

OsloMet (2013, May). DRS // CUMULUS Oslo 2013, 14-17 May The 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers. OsloMet. https://uni.oslomet.no/drscumulusoslo2013/ 

Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G., & Woelm, F. (2020).  The Sustainable Development Goals and COVID-19. Sustainable Development Report 2020. Cambridge University Press. https://sdgindex.org/reports/sustainable-development-report-2020/

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Lesley-Ann Noel, Tulane University / North Carolina State University, United States of America
Renata Marques Leitão, OCAD University, Canada
Hannah Korsmeyer, Monash University, Australia
Sucharita Beniwal, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
Woodrow W. Winchester, III, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Lesley-Ann Noel lnoel2@tulane.edu

A ‘pain point’ is a specific problem that prospective customers of a business are experiencing. In industrial design, and several other design disciplines, designers use pain points to elucidate areas where they can intervene and improve the experience of the person they are designing for. Many design challenges start with a search for pain points that designers can solve. However, this can lead to an excessive focus on (and even fetishization of) the pain and distress of community partners. There is also a tension around who defines the problem and why. The focus on pain and deficit approaches can send problematic messaging about a community’s lived experience, reinforcing a one-dimensional portrayal of these people as depleted or broken (Leitão, 2020; Tuck, 2009). In light of this we would like to consider alternative and more creative re-frames for design education.

In this track we invite designers, educators and other interested authors to consider alternative ways of framing problems design by:

  • issues of othering and unequal relationships of power in the framing activities in design education,
  • how we define and describe problems and pain points in design education, including who declares these as points of pain,
  • alternative methods of framing design problems in design education that move away from damage and pain-centered approaches,
  • alternative approaches to framing in design education that are grounded in questions around the future, utopia, happiness and other bold new approaches in design,
  • relevant culturally-situated practices such as jugaad [1] in design education.

Some questions and topics for consideration are:

  • How do local epistemologies inform framing approaches in design education?  
  • How are design educators using critical and speculative approaches such as Critical Utopian Action Research, diverse futurisms such as Afro-futurism, Chicano futurism, Asian futurism, etc.? 
  • In what ways can design educators use ‘make believe’ and superhero worlds to understand user needs? 
  • What could be the role of happiness and fulfilment as alternative starting points in the design cycle as we educate future designers? 
  • In design education with a focus on social design, who has the right to call a problem a problem? If it’s not a problem, then what can we call it? 
  • How can design educators use games more intentionally in the design process?

We are interested in the approaches of design educators from Pre-K to PhD and beyond, and in both formal and informal education. We anticipate authors may contribute theoretical and methodological essays, case studies or visual papers that interrogate and challenge current norms in ‘problem’ framing in design and highlight alternative approaches.

The following list of references may provide additional guidance on reframing and approaches in design that do not focus on pain. The committee provides these references as examples and does not anticipate that contributors will use all of them. They are organised by category for ease of use.

Indicative References

Framing & Reframing + Power + Othering

Abdulla, D., Ansari, A., Canlı, E., Keshavarz, M., Kiem, M., Oliveira, P., Prado, L. & Schultz, T. (2019). A Manifesto for Decolonising Design. Journal of Futures Studies, 23(3), 129–132 doi:10.6531/JFS.201903_23(3).0012

Agid, S. (2019). Making ‘Safety’, Making Freedom: Problem-Setting, Collaborative Design and Contested Futures. In Fischer, T. & Gamman, L. (Eds.) Tricky design. The ethics of things (Chapter 7). doi:10.5040/9781474277211.ch-008

Akama, Y., Hagen, P., & Whaanga-Schollum, D. (2019). Problematizing Replicable Design to Practice Respectful, Reciprocal, and Relational Co-designing with Indigenous People. Design and Culture, 11(1), 59–84. doi:10.1080/17547075.2019.1571306

Harrington, C., Erete, S., & Piper, A. M. (2019). Deconstructing Community-Based Collaborative Design. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 3(CSCW), 1–25. doi:10.1145/3359318

Ibinarriaga, D. H. (2020). Critical Co-design Methodology: Privileging Indigenous Knowledges and Biocultural Diversity (Australia/Mexico), [Ph.D. thesis], School of Education, Deakin University. http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30136596/ibinarriaga-criticalcodesign-2020.pdf

Leitão, R. M. (2020). Pluriversal design and desire-based design: Desire as the impulse for human flourishing. In Pivot 2020 Conference Proceedings. June 4, New Orleans. doi:10.21606/pluriversal.2020.011

Neubauer, R., Bohemia, E., & Harman, K. (2020). Rethinking Design: From the Methodology of Innovation to the Object of Design. Design Issues, 36(2), 18–27. doi:10.1162/desi_a_00587

Rankin, Y. A., Thomas, J. O., & Joseph, N. M. (2020). Intersectionality in HCI. Interactions, 27(5), 68–71. doi:10.1145/3416498

Spiel, K., Keyes, O., Walker, A. M., Devito, M. A., Birnholtz, J., Brulé, E., … Kannabiran, G. (2019). Queer(ing) HCI. Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. doi:10.1145/3290607.3311750

Tuck, E. (2009). Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities. Harvard Educational Review, 79(3), 409–428. doi:10.17763/haer.79.3.n0016675661t3n15

Yee, J., Raijmakers, B. & Ichikawa, F. (2019) Transformative Learning as Impact in Social Innovation. Design and Culture, 11(1), 109–132, doi:10.1080/17547075.2019.1567984


Anderson, R. & Jones, C. E. (Eds.). (2016). Afrofuturism 2.0: The rise of astro-blackness. Lexington Books.

Brooks, L. A. & Pollock, I. (2018, Oct 02). Minority Reports from 2054: Building Collective and Critical Forecasting Imaginaries via Afrofuturetypes and Game Jamming. Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 39(3), 110–135. DOI: 10.3138/topia.39.03

Candy, S. & Potter, C. (2019). Design and futures. Tamkang University Press.
Maze, R. (2019). Politics of Designing Visions of the Future. Journal of futures studies: Epistemology, methods, applied and alternative futures, 23(3), pp. 23–38 . doi: 10.6531/JFS.201903_23(3).0001

Merla-Watson, C. J. & Olguín, B. V. (Eds.) (2017). “Altermundos: Reassessing the Past, Present, and Future of the Chican@ and Latin@ Speculative Arts.” In: Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Film, Literature, and Popular Culture, pp. v-xxxv. University of Washington Press.

Ramírez, C. S. (2008). Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism: Fictive Kin. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 33(1), 185–94.

Rieder, J. (2008). Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Wesleyan University Press.

Winchester, W. W. (2018). Afrofuturism, inclusion, and the design imagination. Interactions, 25(2), 41-45. DOI: 10.1145/3182655

Taboada, M. B., Rojas-Lizana, S., Dutra, L.X.C. & Levu, A. V. M. (2020) Decolonial Design in Practice: Designing Meaningful and Transformative Science Communications for Navakavu, Fiji. Design and Culture, 12(2), 141-164. DOI: 10.1080/17547075.2020.1724479

Critical Utopian Action Research

Egmose, J., Gleerup, J. & Nielsen, B. S. (2020). Critical Utopian Action Research: Methodological Inspiration for Democratization? International Review of Qualitative Research, 13(2), 233–246. DOI: 10.1177/1940844720933236

Husted, M. & Tofteng, D. M. B. (2015). Critical utopian action research and the power of future creating workshops. Abstract from ALARA 9th Action Learning Action Research and 13th Participatory Action Research World Congress, Pretoria, South Africa.

Feminist Utopianism

Bardzell, S. (2010). Feminist HCI. In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’10. DOI: 10.1145/1753326.1753521

Bardzell, S. (2018). Utopias of Participation. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 25(1), 1–24. DOI: 10.1145/3127359


Macklin, C. & Sharp, J. (2012). “Freakin’ Hard”. In C. Steinkuehler, K. Squire, & S. Barab (Eds.), Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives, pp. 381–402). Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139031127.027

Mies, M. & Shiva, V. (1993). Ecofeminism. Zed Books, University of Michigan. ISBN 1856491560, 9781856491563


Butoliya, D. (2016). Critical Jugaad. Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, 2016(1), 544–544. DOI: 10.1111/1559-8918.2016.01118

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Naz A.G.Z. Börekçi, METU, Turkey
Fatma Korkut, METU, Turkey
Gülay Hasdoğan, METU, Turkey

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s contact Naz Ayşe Güzide Zehra Börekçi nborekci@metu.edu.tr

With this track we would like to explore collaboration carried out in design education, and the opportunities and challenges that it brings to all parties involved, namely, the university, the students and the partners. Partnerships and collaboration in projects is a significant part of design education, feeding the academy with experiences incorporating different approaches, knowledge and tools, and enriching the overall outcomes. Such collaboration provides insights to the academy on the expectations of various partners from the professionals of design, affecting in return how the professionals-to-be are equipped in design education with the knowledge and skills related to their field.

Ideally, all parties benefit and learn from a collaboration project:

  • For the university, the benefits may be related to access to and acquisition of resources, future collaboration possibilities, obtaining new points of view, experimenting with new methods, gaining new knowledge, developing know-how, and finding support for new research in the area.
  • For the students, the benefits may be related to access to practical and theoretical knowledge on the area, raising the quality of educational deliverables, learning to collaborate across disciplines, and the possibility of future professional experiences through this collaboration.
  • For the partners, the benefits may be related to access to educational know-how, tools and methods, being updated on latest research in the field, acquiring academic expertise and consultancy, obtaining insights from a young population, gaining insights into local users and practices, and getting to know the oncoming pool of human resources.

There also are many challenges related to such projects, influencing how the various stages of collaboration are managed, such as forming of partnerships, initiation of collaboration, building the right channels of communication and sustaining them through the right means, conducting and completing the process, assessing the overall outcomes in terms of all parties involved, and making projections for future collaborations.

We recently observe changes in the patterns, types and means of collaboration in design education, which have speeded up following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. With these new patterns, the exceptional has become the regular; collaboration has become global while shrinking distances and adjusting paces, raising an interest in “what others are doing”. The physical barriers have collapsed, with new barriers arising, such as language, and access to software. With all difficulties aside, in some aspects it has become easier to reach out, invite, access and contribute: we exchange academics, researchers, experts, consultants, students, communities, and individuals of interest; we exchange experiences, knowledge, ideas and methodologies; we document, record and share these collaborations. We have found new communication channels, developed new intervention measures, embraced new mindsets, and acquired new skill sets for these evolving patterns of collaboration.

In the light of the above-mentioned issues, with this theme, we call for papers, case studies and workshops sharing collaboration approaches and experiences within the context of semester projects, graduation projects, ‘live’ projects, research projects and other types of collaboration carried out in academia, including the spectrum of connected working, with the common purpose of serving design education and research. The questions we would like to address include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Why do we collaborate in design education? How do we set our educational objectives and pursue these in collaboration projects?
  • How do we select our partners? How do we maintain communication and commitment?
  • What are the frameworks for a successful design education collaboration experience?
  • How have our collaboration models evolved, and what are the projections for future collaboration models?
  • What are the students’ perceptions of the collaboration experience? What is the impact of collaboration on student learning, engagement and satisfaction?
  • What have we learnt from collaborating in design education in the Covid-19 pandemic, and how has this reflected on our know-how, collaboration approaches, educational objectives, practices, and coping strategies?
  • What are the research opportunities that arise from collaboration projects and how can design education benefit from this?

Indicative References

Bohemia, E., & Harman, K. (2006). Boundary Crossing: Negotiating Learning Outcomes in Industry Based Student Projects. In W. Aung & C. Crosthwaite & R.V. Espinosa & J. Moscinski & S.-H. Ou & L.M. Sánchez Ruiz (Eds.), Innovations 2006: World Innovations in Engineering Education and Research (pp. 179–192). Begell House Publishing.

Börekçi, N.A.G.Z., Kaygan, P. & Hasdoğan, G. (2016). Concept Development for Vehicle Design Education Projects Carried Out in Collaboration with Industry. Procedia CIRP, 50(2016), 751–758. DOI: 10.1016/j.procir.2016.04.109

Börekçi, N.A.G.Z. & Korkut, F. (2017). Collaborating with External Partners in Industrial Design Education: A Review of Success Factors. In G. Pritchard & N. Lambert (Eds.), Proceedings of the Learn X Design London 2017 Conference: The Allure of the Digital (pp. 184–191). Ravensbourne Publications.

Maxwell Lane, M. & Tegtmeyer, R. (Eds.) (2020). Collaboration in Design Education: Case Studies and Teaching Methodologies. Bloomsbury Visual Arts.Tucker, R. (Ed.) (2016). Collaboration and Student Engagement in Design Education. IGI Global.

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Arild Berg, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Fausto Medola, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil
Kate Sellen, OCAD University, Canada
Camilla Groth, University of South East Norway

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Arild Berg arildber@oslomet.no

You are welcome to submit contributions about co-creation in this track. We welcome challenges and potentials experienced by researchers in other professions in their meeting with design, both in education, practice and in research. Collaboration and cross disciplinary creativity are essential 21st century skills. A source for this to happen is academics who educate each other between disciplines, which as a consequence can have significant effects. How can academics from other fields come into the design discipline and vice versa? In research collaboration as well in professional work life there are examples of views on epistemology and ontology crashing together, but what are the specific challenges, and what are the solutions?

There are not only local benefits in such collaboration, it has also a global aim. Co-creation and co-design are essential in future perspectives of sustainable research and innovation strategies from the European Union (High Level Group, 2017). This includes a variety of collaborative processes and citizens involvement where questions arise about who to involve, whether are we innovating the right thing, and how new practical and theoretical insights can influence societal development on a governance level. Design education and design traditions hold many methods for participation through creative practice that constitute a toolbox of participation methods emerging from health (Sellen, 2016), technology (Medola, Sandnes, Ferrari, & Rodrigues, 2018; Pavel, Medola, Berg, & Brevik, 2020) and the arts (Groth, Pevere, Niinimäki, & Kääriäinen). There is still a need to discuss how to decolonize knowledge in design education because this knowledge is needed for better collaboration and communication on a large scale.

Relevant topics in this track include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Participatory design in education
  • Citizen involvement through co-creation in design education
  • Co-creation of experiential knowledge exchange in design education
  • Co-creation and multidisciplinary collaboration in real life scenarios and implications for design education
  • Co-creation of design education through global design studios
  • Co-creation of design interactions in teaching spaces
  • Bridging perspectives in education through co-design
  • Co-creation of participatory prototyping in educational settings
  • Professional attitudes in interdisciplinary design practice and implications for design education
  • Decolonizing knowledge through co-creation for interdisciplinary design education


Groth, C., Pevere, M., Niinimäki, K., & Kääriäinen, P. (2020). Conditions for experiential knowledge exchange in collaborative research across the sciences and creative practice. CoDesign, 16(4), 328–344. https://doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2020.1821713

High Level Group (2017). LAB – FAB – APP.  Investing in the European future we want. Report of the independent High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes. Brussels: European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/research/evaluations/pdf/archive/other_reports_studies_and_documents/hlg_2017_report.pdf

Medola, F. O., Sandnes, F. E., Ferrari, A. L. M., & Rodrigues, A. C. T. (2018). Strategies for Developing Students’ Empathy and Awareness for the Needs of People with Disabilities: Contributions to Design Education. Stud Health Technol Inform. 256, 137–147. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30371468/

Pavel, N., Medola, F. O., Berg, A., & Brevik, B. (2020). Multistable Technologies and Pedagogy for Resilience: A Postphenomenological Case Study of Learning by 3D printing. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 25(1), 1-14. https://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/DATE/article/view/2712

Sellen, K. (2016). Understanding the Dynamics and Temporal Aspects of Work for Human Centered Design. In S. Yamamoto (Ed.), Human Interface and the Management of Information: Information, Design and Interaction. HIMI 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 9734 (pp. 454-461). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40349-6_43

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net


Juha Hartvik, Åbo Akademi University Finland
Mia Porko-Hudd, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Submissions Categories | »Papers »Case Studies »Visual Papers
Track’s lead contact Juha Hartvik juha.hartvik@abo.fi

This track emanates from the Nordic countries’ unique and long tradition of a craft subject (swe slöjd) within basic education. The subject offers students the opportunity to learn and develop knowledge when processing materials into physical artifacts, which at the same time makes the knowledge and skills visible.

When looking at the historical development and the subject content one can identify both similarities and differences within the Nordic countries. Sweden has emphasized making in wood, metal and textile technologies, while Norway has a subject content where visual arts, architecture and crafts form the content of the subject. Finland has in turn chosen to shape the content based on wood, metal and textile technologies as well as simple electronics, mechanical engineering, programming and robotics.

Research highlights the importance of educational craft activities that develop the student´s ability to handle holistic processes that include idea creation and development of idea, planning and preparation for making, as well as the concrete making of the artifact. In all stages of this iterative process, self-evaluation and evaluation together with others are included. In the making of artifacts the student and the tools become a whole as material is transformed into concrete tangible artifacts.

Knowledge, intentions and thoughts are used and developed in the making and embedded in the artifact, which thus gains a mediating role. In educational settings, this materiality is strongly associated with versatile learning that has denotative and connotative as well as media-specific and media-neutral potential and goals. For example, problem solving is an ability that can be practiced in crafts and later used in a media-neutral field, that is, in life in general.

We welcome research presentations that look at materiality and making in both formal and informal learning environments. Questions that address the structure and content are of interest to this track, as are the objectives that are pursued. The presentations can also focus on the results, both non-material and material, that the activity leads to. In addition, different framework conditions such as workshops, material resources and teachers’ professionalism can constitute possible content in the presentations.

  • In what ways and where are opportunities for craft activities for children and young people offered?
  • Which ideological positions are the craft activities based upon?
  • Why are craft activities considered important for children and young people?
  • How is the teaching and supervision of the activities arranged?
  • What constitute the teachers’ professional background?
  • How is the curricula and content described?
  • What resources are available to enable craft activities?
  • What types of projects are made in the craft workshops?
  • What kinds of learning are expected and developed in craft classes and making workshops?

Indicative References

Carlsen, K., Randers-Pehrson, A., & Hermansen, H. (2018). Design, kunst og håndverk i Norge: fra barnehage til PhD. [Design, art and craft in Norway; from kindergarten to PhD]. Techne Series – Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 25(3), 58–73. https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/techneA/article/view/3028

Hasselskog, P., Holmberg, A., & Westerlund, S. (2018). Sverige: Slöjdämnets situation, utveckling och forskning under 2009–2018. [Sweden: Slöjd-subject situation, development and research 2009-2018]. Techne Series – Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 25(3), 74–93. https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/techneA/article/view/3029

Hartvik, J. (2013). Det planlagda och det som visar sig: Klasslärarstuderandes syn på undervisning i teknisk slöjd. [The planned and the appeared: Classroom teachers view on Technincal slöjd teaching]. Åbo Akademis förlag.

Illum, B., & Johansson, M. (2012). Transforming physical materials into artefacts – learning in the school’s practice of Sloyd. Techne Series – Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 19(1), 2–16. https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/techneA/

Johansson, M. (2008). Kommunikation i skolans slöjdpraktik.[ Communication in slöjd school practise]. I K. Borg & L. Lindström (Red.), Slöjda för livet – Om pedagogisk slöjd . [Slöjding for life – about educational slöjd]. (s. 145–157). Lärarförbundet.

Johansson, M., & Andersson, J. (2017). Learning situations in Sloyd ‒ to become more handy, dexterous and skilful. Techne Series – Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 24(2), 93–109. https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/techneA/article/view/1875
Lindström, L. (2009). Estetiska lärprocesser om, i, med och genom slöjd. [ Esthetical learning processes about, in with and through slöjd]. KRUT, Kritisk utbildningstidskrift. Nr 133/134, 57–70.

Porko-Hudd, M., Pöllänen, S., & Lindfors, E. (2018). Common and holistic crafts education in Finland. Techne Series – Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 25(3), 26–38. https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/techneA/article/view/3025

Pöllänen, S. (2009). Contextualizing Craft. Pedagogical Models for Craft Education. The International Journal of Art & Design Education. 28(3), 249–260.

Pöllänen, S. (2015). Elements of Crafts that Enhance Well-Being: Textile Craft Makers’ Descriptions of Their Leisure Activity. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(1), 58–78.

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Bryan Howell, Brigham Young University, USA
Jan Willem Hoftijzer, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Mauricio Novoa, Western Sydney University, Australia
Amos Sculley, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
Mark Sypesteyn, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Rik de Reuver, Vanderveer Design, Netherlands

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Bryan Howell bryan.howell@byu.edu

The role of sketching and drawing in the design domains has been in flux for much of time. Today, sketching is continuing this evolution pattern by moving beyond artifact representation and accruing appreciation beyond the traditional fields of design in domains such as science, data, and business. Simultaneously, emerging digital technologies such as tablets and augmented, virtual, and mixed reality tools facilitate new means of sketched communication and visualization formats. How are these evolutions impacting design education? How should design education respond? As sketching values and ideals shift, what new knowledge will design educators uncover?

image representing an idea that Designers desire to sketch their stories
©2020 Jan Willem Hoftijzer

The context of sketching education has also notably been affected by Covid-19. Beyond cultural and technological advancements, this additional constraint has forced design educators into a series of challenges and opportunities in drawing/sketching education and professional practice. How have these constraints created new methods, processes, or knowledge?

image representing an idea that Using pens and pencils to develop and concretize content
©2020 Jan Willem Hoftijzer

In the new normal of an epidemic and its legacy afterward, we have the chance to research and reinterpret our educational practices, course content, and tools of the trade. Accordingly, design educators are compelled to uncover novel answers for old and new queries through observation, experimentation, and theory. Why do we sketch, how has technology redefined sketching, what is a ‘good sketch’ today, and what unique knowledge does sketching enable in our current social, digital, pandemic environment?

image representing an idea of the language and communication medium of ‘sketching’ helps to unravel and map complexity
©2020 Jan Willem Hoftijzer

Sketching research in design education is primed for reinterpretation and new contextualization. The innumerable discussions between analog and digital sketching, live and online education, traditional and emerging contexts have seeded ground to reassess our relationships with the role and values of sketching visualizations. 

image depicting visualizing the various interests and stakeholders that are part of a project or collaboration
©2020 Jan Willem Hoftijzer

With these negotiations in mind, we call for visual or written papers, case studies, or workshops focused on research that reveals insights into how and why sketching education and visual knowledge reflects and informs the topics and questions already mentioned and those listed below. We welcome presentations and discussions on any of the following topics or other meaningful topics not listed that would benefit design educators:

  • How do we contextualize and frame sketching’s migration into new domains such as “service and system design”? What new knowledge do these practices reveal, and what methods should design schools adopt to inform classroom topics?
  • As individual sketches and online sketching celebrities reach a global audience through digital tools and channels, what impact does this have on the value and meaning of sketching and drawing? Is sketching seeing an international homogenization of practice? How are design educators leading or responding to the online sketching world?
  • As sketching and drawing education is forced into online platforms, how do we research, evaluate, and disseminate any new knowledge and methods related to this context?
  • Digital poverty is real. Design education’s new online context requires broadband, advanced computer hardware/software, and safe spaces to study and work for all students. How do sketching educators compensate for this situation when it is not achievable by one or many students?
  • Software, by its very nature, is colonizing digital drawing and sketching workflows and execution. How do sketching educators analyze this phenomenon and account for it in our teaching methods and visual knowledge?
  • Digital sketching has enabled endless variations in form, concept, and communication. How do we teach students which images are appropriate for a given context? Why is one particular visual communication outcome better than another one? How are sketching outcomes assessed and determined?
  • As business, science, and data embrace sketching, what new knowledge are those domains uncovering that design education sketching should adopt? How do sketching educators cross-fertilize expertise and skills in traditionally non-design fields?
  • How do established conventions in sketching education prevent other domains from adopting visual practice? How do design’s sketching and drawing conventions prohibit the adoption of sketching in other disciplines?
  • What new knowledge does visual storytelling in quantitative and qualitative data visualization enable? How and why might we teach that in sketching education?
  • As visualization practices expand culturally, should general education (K-12) be adopting sketching as an essential skill? If so, what is design sketching education’s role in general education practices?
Visual-Papers assembled four of the images

Indicative References

Bresciani, S. (2019) Visual design thinking: A collaborative dimensions framework to profile visualisations. Design Studies, 63, 92-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2019.04.001

Brun, J., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2016). Designing with sketches: The generative effects of knowledge preordering. Design Science, 2, e13. https://doi.org/10.1017/dsj.2016.13

Corremans, J., & Mulder-Nijkamp, M. (2019). Towards an Extended Design Sketch & Visualization Taxonomy in Industrial Design Education. In E. Bohemia, A. Kovacevic, L. Buck, R. Brisco, D. Evans, H. Grierson, W. Ion, & R.I. Whitfield (Eds.), DS 95: Visual Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (pp. 478–489). Glasgow: Design Society and the Institution of Engineering Designers. https://designsketching.designsociety.org/multimedia/e8e86819d116aa91483a048b0576e2eae5e54f1dbd1c8fea8189e87899f19157e7380db81568548450.pdf

Hoftijzer, J.W., Sypesteyn, M., & Kormelink, S. (2020). A New Language for Sketching the Intangible; Building On A Mutual Fundament. In L. Buck, E. Bohemia, & H. Grierson (Eds.), DS 104: Visual Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020). Herning: Design Society and the Institution of Engineering Designers. https://designsketching.designsociety.org/34/A+NEW+LANGUAGE+FOR+SKETCHING+THE+INTANGIBLE%3B+BUILDING+ON+A+MUTUAL+FUNDAMENT

Larkin, J.H., & Simon, H. (1987). Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words. Cognitive Science, 11(1), 65-100. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6708.1987.tb00863.x

Novoa, M. (2019). Do we need a new theory of drawing?: Exploration on technological change between physical and digital visualisation. In E. Bohemia, A. Kovacevic, L. Buck, R. Brisco, D. Evans, H. Grierson, W. Ion, & R.I. Whitfield (Eds.), DS 95: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (pp. 478–489). Glasgow: Design Society and the Institution of Engineering Designers. https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.36

Novoa, M. (2020). Basis for a new theory of drawing framework from traditional handmade to modern virtual simulation. In L. Buck, E. Bohemia, & H. Grierson (Eds.), DS 104: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020). Herning: Design Society and the Institution of Engineering Designers. https://doi.org/10.35199/EPDE.2020.58

Sibbet, D. (2010). Visual meetings: How graphics, sticky notes and idea mapping can transform group productivity. John Wiley & Sons. https://www.amazon.com/Visual-Meetings-Graphics-Transform-Productivity/dp/0470601787

Suwa, M., & Tversky, B. (1997). What do architects and students perceive in their design sketches? A protocol analysis. Design Studies, 18(4), 385-403. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0142-694X(97)00008-2

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Roland M. Mueller, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany & University of Twente, The Netherlands
Arno Verhoeven, University of Edinburgh, UK

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Roland M. Mueller roland.mueller@hwr-berlin.de

More and more products and services have data-related aspects, which turn data into a critical asset for design and innovation. However, many designers lack the sufficient digital and data literacy to effectively participate in data-centred innovation projects. How could we incorporate the possibility of data as a creative design material in design education? How should we teach the design of data-centred complex socio-technical systems? This track focuses on exploring tools, techniques, and training for educating data-driven design innovations. Data-driven innovation is “the strategic utilisation of data and analytics to improve or foster new processes, products, services, and markets” (OECD, 2015, p. 17).

Designing data-driven products and services is especially challenging for teams consisting mostly of design or business people or students who might lack in-depth data literacy and have problems identifying the opportunities of data-driven technologies like AI and machine learning. On the other hand, teams with in-depth knowledge about data, AI, and machine learning often lack knowledge about user-driven innovation methods that can identify worthwhile problems to solve. Therefore, for successful data-driven innovation projects we need the intersection of two sets of skills. First, data literacy with basic knowledge about the potential use of data, data science, AI, and machine learning. And secondly, design thinking and other user-driven innovation and co-creation methods that focus on the user problems and are able to identify, frame, and re-frame problems as well as methods of ideation.
We invite case studies, reports from the field, tools and techniques, and workshop proposals that investigate the question of how to improve data-driven design innovations, as well as strategies for teaching and learning the appropriate techniques for developing them. Theoretical papers, as well as qualitative and quantitative empirical studies are also welcome.

Topics of Interest

  • How can we establish a critical degree of data literacy in design education and general education?
  • How can education training support individuals and organisations in identifying design opportunities around data, AI and machine learning?
  • How can incorporating data as a design material in the innovation process become part of the design education training?
  • How can facilitating data-driven design processes be incorporated into education training?
  • How can curriculums reflect the use of data to improve design and innovation processes?
  • How can education explore what the role is of AI and machine learning for design innovation?
  • Teaching the dark side of data: What are the risks, pitfalls and challenges around data-driven design?
  • Providing rich media to enrich the skills of future designers: How can we bring together qualitative data from the humanities and quantitative data from the ‘hard sciences’ to enrich design practices and outcomes?
  • Teaching and learning: Do we need new pedagogical models, or do we need to update the old ones? Which roles does pedagogy play in data learning and teaching?
  • Continuing education/professional development: Data and technical change take place at an incredible speed. How do we design for the requirements of ‘life-long learning’ and ‘continuing professional development’ to ensure that the public and private sectors are able to keep pace with data-driven principles within their workforce?


OECD (2015). Data-Driven Innovation: Big Data for Growth and Well-Being. OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264229358-en

Indicative References

Kayser, V., Nehrke, B., & Zubovic, D. (2018). Data Science as an Innovation Challenge: From Big Data to Value Proposition. Technology Innovation Management Review, 8(3), 16–25. https://doi.org/10.22215/timreview/1143

Kronsbein, T., & Mueller, R. M. (2019). Data Thinking: A Canvas for Data-Driven Ideation Workshops. In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) (pp. 561–570).

Kun, P., Mulder, I., de Götzen, A., & Kortuem, G. (2019). Creative Data Work in the Design Process. In C&C ’19: Proceedings of the 2019 on Creativity and Cognition (pp. 346–358). https://doi.org/10.1145/3325480.3325500

Meierhofer, J., & Herrmann, A. (2018). End-to-End Methodological Approach for the Data-Driven Design of Customer-Centered Digital Services. In G. Satzger, L. Patrício, M. Zaki, N. Kühl, & P. Hottum (Eds.), Exploring Service Science, Vol. 331 (pp. 208–218). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-03000713-3

Sternkopf, H., & Mueller, R. M. (2018). Doing Good with Data: Development of a Maturity Model for Data Literacy in Non-governmental Organizations. In Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) (pp. 5045–5054).

Seidelin, C., Dittrich, Y., & Grönvall, E. (2020). Foregrounding data in co-design – An exploration of how data may become an object of design. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 143, 102505.

Trabucchi, D., & Buganza, T. (2019). Data-driven innovation: Switching the perspective on Big Data. European Journal of Innovation Management, 22(1), 23–40. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-01-2018-0017

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Katja Thoring, Anhalt University, Dessau, Germany
Nicole Lotz, Open University, UK
Linda Keane, AIA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Katja Thoring Katja.Thoring@hs-anhalt.de

Teaching and learning approaches in design and art education can have different characteristics, ranging from traditional ex-cathedra teaching to project-based learning, sometimes even with external clients. Lecturing, self-study, teamwork, practical modelmaking, and remote teaching take turns, which is typical for the design field but can also be seen in other disciplines and K-12 education. The educational practices that arise from these different approaches often have a relation to the spaces and places in which learning takes place. The question arises of how the spatial settings of the learning institutions can be designed in order to better facilitate learning.

Compared to other aspects of educational research, such as pedagogy in general, curriculum and syllabus design, educational psychology, and learning theory, the role of the learning space is relatively under-researched. With this track we aim to explore two different perspectives on the topic: First, to understand the role of the space (physical, virtual, hybrid) in design and art education, and secondly, to investigate how learning spaces can or should be designed to facilitate learning in general.

Questions of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • How does physical space need to adapt to facilitate experiential learning?
  • What is the relation between the studio as a pedagogy and the studio as a space?
  • What are contemporary design educational concepts (e.g., design thinking), and what types of spaces do they require?
  • What hybrid or virtual counterparts of physical space can be identified for design learning? (MOOCs, hybrid and remote learning, virtual classrooms, new (digital) collaboration tools, flipped classroom) and what are related challenges and opportunities?
  • How can the design of the physical space facilitate creativity and the design process in general?
  • What are new trends in learning space design in K-12 education (kindergarten and elementary Schools)?
  • What role does the space have as the “third teacher”?
  • How can learning space capture, display, archive, transfer, and instigate (new) design knowledge?
  • What new spatial formats are emerging, such as design clinics, innovation incubators, and makerspaces, and how do these expand the traditional classroom or studio?
  • What are intangible aspects of learning spaces (such as ambiance, light, sound, smell) and what impact can they have on the design learning process?
  • How can learning spaces provide affordances to guide people’s behaviour?
  • In what ways does the learning space need to change after Covid-19?
  • What is the dark side of the learning environment (i.e., spaces that hinder creativity, collaboration, and learning)?

We invite theoretical papers, empirical studies (qualitative and quantitative), case studies and reports from the field, as well as design-based research that develops and implements new learning environments and tools and studies their possible impact.

Indicative References

Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in Context. Westview Press.
Boys, J. (2010). Towards creative learning spaces: Re-thinking the architecture of post-compulsory education. Routledge.

Cannon Design, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design. (2010). The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning. Abrams.

Dudek, M. (2000). Architecture of schools: The new learning environments. Routledge.
Ehmann, S., Borges, S., & Klanten, R. (2012). Learn for life: New architecture for new learning. Gestalten.

Jankowska, M., & Atlay, M. (2008). Use of creative space in enhancing students’ engagement. Innovations in Education and Teaching International45(3), 271–279. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703290802176162

Jones, D., & Lloyd, P. (2013). Which way is up? Space and place in virtual learning environments for design. In J. B. Reitan, P. Lloyd, E. Bohemia, L. M. Nielsen, I. Digranes, & E. Lutnæs (Eds.). Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, 14-17 May 2013, Oslo, Norway. (Vol. 1, pp. 552-563). ABM-media. https://oda-hioa.archive.knowledgearc.net/handle/10642/8890 

Kaup, M. L., Kim, H.-C., & Dudek, M. (2013). Planning to Learn: The Role of Interior Design in Educational Settings. International Journal of Designs for Learning4(2), 41–55. Lotz, N.,

Derek, J. & Holden, G. (2019). OpenDesignStudio: Virtual studio development over a decade. In N. A. G. Z. Börekçi, D. Ö. Koçyıldırım, F. Korkut, & D. Jones (Eds.), Proceedings of DRS Learn X Design 2019: Insider Knowledge. Fifth International Conference for Design Education Researchers 9-12 July 2019, Middle East Technical University Ankara, Turkey. (pp. 267–280). METU Department of Industrial Design. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hP_zm-o4Pm3tqOS2RKZPgFd0CQ_CzIpY/view.

Marca, S. L. (2010). Designing the Learning Environment. Aust Council for Ed Research.
Robinson, S., & Pallasmaa, J. (2015). Mind in architecture: Neuroscience, embodiment, and the future of design. MIT Press.

Scott-Webber, L., Branch, J., Bartholomew, P., & Nygaard, C. (2014). Learning Space Design in Higher Education. Libri Publishing. https://pure.ulster.ac.uk/en/publications/learning-space-design-in-higher-education

Taylor, A. (2009). Linking architecture and education: Sustainable design for learning environments. UNM Press.

Temple, P. (2008). Learning spaces in higher education: An under-researched topic. London Review of Education6(3), 229–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/14748460802489363

Thoring, K. (2019). Designing Creative Space: A Systemic View on Workspace Design and its Impact on the Creative Process. [Ph.D. thesis], Delft University of Technology. https://doi.org/10.4233/uuid:77070b57-9493-4aa6-a9a5-7fed52e45973

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Yashar Kardar, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Lilyana Yazirlıoğlu, Ted University, Turkey
Sarper Seydioğlu, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Ayşegül Özçelik, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
The Small Fish School Collective

Papers, Case Studies, Workshops and Visual Papers submssions
Track’s lead contact Yashar Kardar yashar.kardar@hotmail.com

Design education as we know it spun-off from proximate pedagogies relying on concepts of co-spatiality and co-temporality of members and stakeholders involved in the education process. However, we have seen significant developments in technologies that enable bold changes extending to unbundling design education altogether over the past years. With increased possibilities in accessing members inside and outside of educational institutions, using data-oriented methodologies to personalise education, and bringing together vast communities online and offline, we think imagining a new design education is not only possible but a must. As recent graduates present in both academia and industry, we feel the need for changes enabling accessible, inclusive, and adaptable design education models more than ever. This has become more apparent to us with the pandemic crippling education models in many design institutions, forcing them to abandon practices they are used to and causing them to struggle in learning a new paradigm that loosens the constraints of time and space.

Now that we have been forced to change, we want to take this chance and explore the possibilities it may open. With the increased variety in members’ access and involvement based on their time and space affordances in design education, how can we create more personal, adaptive, and sustainable education models that enable members, independent of where they are and how they are accessing education? While there are examples of alternative models such as virtual, open, and online studios worldwide, with this track, we aim to explore possible extreme and disruptive models creating utopias and dystopias of future design education.

This track encourages scholars to venture beyond the ‘studio’ to explore possibilities of social dynamics and communities in design education that support their members with experiences, feelings, and senses of identity concerning institutions and fellow members. How can we empower communities and facilitate social support for members of design education inside and outside institutions? How have different members’ identities in educational communities, such as educators, students, scholars, and professionals, changed? While re-configuring design education, how can we envision and communicate the characteristics of the new identities of future members of design communities? Transitions in design education directly disturb the current conceptions of designers’ skills, competencies, and identities; so considering the increased fluidity of information and knowledge between disciplines, the question arises as to how and where the borders of the design discipline are redrawn.

We call for papers, case studies, visual papers and workshops, challenging the current design education system and speculating new futures where the limits of time and space in education are pushed further. We call for up-and-coming members of the design ecosystem to raise their voices. However, we also invite those with experience to tell us about their inquiries into the future of designing design education!

This track would like to explore, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Future scenarios of design education.
  • Personalized, sustainable, and adaptive design education practices independent of time and space.
  • Current issues in managing design communities in alternative education models.
  • Future of affordances/boundaries in learning, teaching, and practicing design.
  • Learning, framing, and communicating new disciplinary identities for future designers.

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

Yang Zhang, SUAD, Design Education Research Centre, China
Kay Stables, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
Jun Cai, Tsinghua University, China
Ziyuan Wang, CAFA, China
Dong Zhanjun, SUAD, China

Paper, Case Study and Workshop submissions
Track’s lead contact Yang Zhang yang.zhang@learnxdesign.net

The design educators’ play a key role in, for example, how teaching and learning is planned, organised and delivered. In addition, the educators’ specific pedagogical approaches inform and structure learning and teaching elements such as: the curriculum content, students’ assignments, subject delivery, learning environment in which the learning takes place and interaction between the involved students and the given subject’s matter. These elements constitute signature pedagogies which according to Shulman (2005, p.5): “are important precisely because they are pervasive. They implicitly define what counts as knowledge in a field and how things become known. They define how knowledge is analyzed, criticized, accepted, or discarded. They define the functions of expertise in a field, the locus of authority, and the privileges of rank and standing.”

Thus, if we agree with Shulman’s proposition, then educator’s signature pedagogies, including those in design, play the key role in shaping professional practices and therefore, there is a need to explore design educators’ pedagogical practices.
Therefore, understanding how design educators’ roles, skills and their competencies are shaping and are shaped by signature pedagogies might provide us with an insight how the design educators can take up active role as change agents. For example, design educator’s prior training might shape understanding of their roles when planning, organising and delivering classes, whereby design learning environment based on arts and craft practices would emphases different knowledge, subject deliveries and assessments from those learning environments which are rooted in technical subjects such engineering. This rases questions whether what might be considered core design competencies are actually needed to teach design or what has been impact of these academics on design signature pedagogies?

Related to above, design educator leaders with background in disciplines like engineering, applied phycology, and related marketing and business studies, may develop extremely different pedagogies coupled with emphasis on the different capacities of academic leadership. Then we might ask what these academic leaders are understanding of the change processes to either reproduce the signature pedagogies or change these in repose to internal and/or external factors?

One of the significant needs for educators as change agents is related to challenges related to societal, environmental and sustainability issues which needs urgent attention. Kremers, Liepins, and York (2019) advocated that “a revolution is needed to address the gap between knowledge and action”, the challenge of some serious calls to action such as transforming programmatic practices, transforming curriculum, transforming academia, and transforming ourselves are emerging.

We seek full papers, case studies and workshops submissions which will explore the above issues. We provide the following prompt areas, which we do not consider to be exhaustive:

  • what are design educators’ roles, skills and their competencies and how are they shaping and shaped?
  • what distinguishes design educators from educators from other disciplines or cultures?
  • how do lecturers or programme leaders and deans understand the change process?
  • how can educators be supported to change their practices?
  • what is professional understanding of lectures role to introduce change for the profession?
  • how lecturers manage different requirements of change?


Shulman, L. S. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 132(3), 52–59.

Kremers, K. L., Liepins, A. S. & York, A. M., (2019). Developing Change Agents, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, doi:10.24926/978194613

If you like to find out more about the Track please do not hesitate to get it touch by emailing to the Track’s lead or the general contact email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net

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Submission Categories

You can select from these four category types for your submission for the upcoming 2021 LearnxDesign: 6th International Conference for Design Education Researchers. Please check that the track for which you are planning to make the submission lists the submission category. The table below provides a quick overview.
You will need to use the blind template submission document which is available below.

Full Research Papers »

Research Papers

Full research paper contributions should be between 3500 and 6000 words in length, excluding abstract and references.

We welcome any research approach or type of paper including conceptual, empirical and critical literature reviews. However, we expect high standards of scholarship within the papers, in terms of establishing context, explicating the methods of inquiry, and reporting results that may aid other researchers.

Full research papers need to follow the APA 7 reference formatting style.

Case Studies »

Case Studies

Case studies aim to provide a platform for sharing a reflective account of a project. Therefore, it is expected for case studies to provide an actionable outcome(s) from the insights outlined in the text.

Case studies should be between 1500 and 3000 words in length.

Submissions for case studies will be selected based on:

  • Alignment with the selected track’s theme;
  • Clearly established, credible and relevant context;
  • Visual and/or empirical evidence/support;
  • Immediacy, applicability and transferability of key insights.

Full case studies need to follow the APA 7 reference formatting style.

Workshops »


We would like you to consider to facilitated delivered of the workshop both in person and online. The workshops are an opportunity to explore new and emerging practices and research topics, facilitate debates, gather data and test on-going research. Practitioners can benefit from opportunities to showcase their work, seed projects in collaboration with design researchers, and/or gather insights on their relevant issues. The work-shop proposal should be no more than 1500 words, and it should cover the following points:

  • Workshop title;
  • Specific workshop aim(s);
  • Workshop outline that clearly describes how you envision to run the workshop activities in two delivery modes: (a) physically in person and (b) online virtually (the proposed format and schedule needs to fit into dedicated 90 minutes time slot of running the workshop, this should account for introduction and warp-up activities);
  • Expected outcomes of the workshop;
  • Minimum and maximum numbers of participants;
  • How the workshop will benefit the participants;
  • How the workshop is relevant to the selected track’s aims;
  • Workshop proposals will be selected based on: clarity, experimentation with new formats of workshops, and relevance to the specific track’s themes.

Workshops proposals need to follow the APA 7 reference formatting style.

Visual Papers »

Visual Papers logo

Visual papers use sketched images to communicate the primary information while text plays a supporting role. Visual papers should contribute new knowledge and have educational or research interest for the LxD.2021 community. Visual papers may utilise colour, have flexible layouts and overall lengths, and enable new types of communication.

  • The proceedings paper format is as per this template, which is B5, portrait mode.
  • File size is limited to less than 10 MB.
  • Text can be either hand printed, or font based, Calibri (or standard similar font) but should be consistent in size and spacing on all pages.
  • The title, keywords and references must use the conference type size and style and cannot be handwritten.
  • Contributions can be between 10 and 20 pages long.

Visual papers need to follow the APA 7 reference formatting style.

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Overview of Submission Types Available for Each of the Tracks

NoTitleFull Research PapersCase StudiesWorkshopsVisual Papers
01Design Thinking to Improve Creative Problem-Solving ooo 
02Empowering Critical
Design Literacy
03Alternative Problem Framing
in Design Education
in Design Education
05Co-creation of Interdisciplinary
Design Educations
oo o
06Learning Through Materiality
and Making
oo o
07Sketching & Drawing Education
and Knowledge
08Educating Data-driven
Design Innovation
09Design Learning
10Futures of Design
11Design Educators
as Change Agents
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Template to Format your Blind Copy Contribution

Although this contribution formatting template is publicly available and you are welcome to use it beyond this event, please let us know by email lxd2021@learnxdesign.net about how you have adopted it.

If you require the paper template saved in a previous version of the Microsoft Word Document file format, please contact us via this email address: lxd2021@learnxdesign.net
Author names should NOT be identified in the abstract or the body of the submitted paper. The contributions must be previously unpublished.

If you are single author, then you can submit only ONE contribution. If a paper is co-authored, then you can submit as many contributions as you have the co-authors. The lead presenter will need to change for each of the different contributions. For example, a paper titled “Research Paper Adam & Bob”, co-authored by Author Adam, has been accepted, as well as Author Adam’s single authored case study titled “Case Study Adam”. Then Author Bob will lead the presentation of the paper titled “Research Paper Adam & Bob” and Author Adam will present the case study titled “Case Study Adam”.

The submission needs to be done on the conference management system http://www.conftool.com/learnxdesign2021

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LxD.2021 Key Dates

Submission Deadline
:: Full Research Papers
:: Full Visual Papers
:: Full Case-studies
:: Workshop Proposals
Tuesday 30 March 2021
Review Outcomes NotificationTuesday 11 May 2021
via the conference
management system
Deadline for Submissions with CorrectionsTuesday 8 June 2021
Review Outcomes Notification for Submissions
requiring Major Revision
Tuesday 13 July 2021
Registration of author(s)
early bird
Tuesday 3 August 2021
Learn×Design.2021 will take place onthe following dates
PhD Pit StopThursday 23 September 2021
Presentation of the Accepted
:: Research Papers
:: Visual Paper
:: Case-study
:: Workshop
Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September 2021
ExcursionsMonday 27 September 2021
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Registration Fees

The LxD.2021 conference Early Bird Rate fees are:

« For delegates from the Global South 3500 Renminbi (RMB) and from the rest of the world 3900 RMB

« For students from the Global South 2500 RMB and from the rest of the world 2700 RMB

NOTE: The above fees are based on the assumption that the conference will be held physically at SUAD in China. However, we will be reviewing the conference joining fees as we come closer to staging the conference and if the conference will need to be conducted online the fees will reflect this change.

If the conference will need to be held online will be announced by Tuesday 13 July 2021.

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In 2016 the Chinese Ministry of Education has included the design discipline to the “Special Catalogue of General Colleges and Universities” with the aim of scaling up design education. Since 2016, more than 2,000 institutions have been delivering design programmes. Every year more than 540,000 students enroll into design programmes.

The number of students studying design and related majors in the school now exceeds 2 million. The design discipline has become the most prominent one in more than 140 first-level disciplines and more than 90 undergraduate majors in China.

Professor Xu, a scholar in design education, stated that under the current economic and social development situation in China, the scale of design education will increase in the future. Thus, design researcher educators will have a profound impact on the future of China’s design discipline development. Especially now that countries around the world generally emphasize the innovation-driven. Therefore, the discipline of design should be based on the needs of social development and conceive a knowledge prospect that is forward-looking and realistically connected in the future. This is a key issue that cannot be avoided by design education today.

To address the outlined context, we would like to propose the following 2021 conference theme: Engaging with Challenges in Design Education

The page has been updated on 11 March 2021