Crossing over, into and back: design disciplines and identities.
Fairburn, Susan Marie
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FAIRBURN, S., HEELEY, R. and PENGELLY, J. 2016. Crossing over, into and back: design disciplines and identities. In Proceedings of the 18th international conference on engineering and product design education (E&PDE16): design education, 8-9 September 2016, Aalborg, Denmark. Bristol: Design Society [online], pages 590-595. Available from: https://www.designsociety.org/publication/39129/crossing_over_into_and_back_design_disciplines_and_identities
Increasingly design education is taking place within a Krauss-ion 'expanded field' of cross disciplinary practice. This explorative nature of design, when set against notions of traditional disciplines, will ask graduates to participate with certainty and confidence in this 'expanded field'. We argue that developing disciplinary identity, when reinforced by actively working across disciplines, demonstrates the value of creative solutions arising from a collaborative project space. This paper outlines a strategy to engage students in negotiating this expanded design identity through wide ranging partnerships, which purposefully inform the collaborative, and cross-disciplinary nature of this approach. Key to each project is the collaborative interaction between external partners and mixed design groups from Fashion & Textiles, 3D Design and Communication Design. The overview and analysis of this longitudinal cross-disciplinary initiative provides insights that support a clear and positive impact on student's engagement with interdisciplinary experience and onward professional attributes (transferable skills). Findings are informed by student questionnaires, stakeholder feedback, staff interviews, and small group discussions. This paper shares perspectives on cross-disciplinary working strategies in design education and notions of design identity at a time when disciplinary identity is blurring for a future generation of design practitioners.