The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design, Hong Kong Design Institute (member of VTC Group) and Hong Kong Design Centre jointly present the tenth DesignEd Asia Conference. The Conference aims to provide a practical platform for international design educators and professionals to share views, knowledge and experiences on Design Education. It continues to draw hundreds of international design educators, design researchers, practicing designers, design students, and design-related executives.

The DesignEd Asia Conference is a key event under the programme of Business of Design Week (BODW). BODW is an annual flagship event organized by Hong Kong Design Centre since 2002.

This year the theme of the conference is: ACTION! - Doing Design Education
We must do in order to learn, just as we must learn in order to do.

Designers are doers. Beyond the "skills" and "knowledge" of the respective design disciplines, design education needs to prepare students with the tactical and interpersonal capacity to navigate the world in which they are designing and construct the positive change that they are envisioning. Learning designerly ways of acting in the world involves developing positive habits, honing tacit knowledge and rehearsing ways of conscious action through modes of teaching and learning that transcend traditional "classroom" and "studio" modes of learning.

We are inviting papers exploring different aspects of an action-oriented, experience-oriented, constructivist-grounded view of design education, involving doing the "real thing" in "real time" in the "real world". In such contexts, knowledge is not seen as being "delivered" by a teacher but is rather constructed by the individual learner and co-constructed by the group of learners. This can imply educators relinquishing a degree control over the structure of the learning process, the environment in which the learning takes place, and the intended "outcomes" of the learning process, in favor of enabling the types of active experiences through which real knowledge emerges. This type of learning can also involve the integration of other people and organizations into the educational process, beyond the binary student-teacher relationship.

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • Crafting - in essence the most traditional sense of "learning by doing" in design education, crafting implies making with care, through an application of expertise, for an express purpose. Does this model necessarily imply a "craftsman" approach in which knowledge is "handed-down" from master to apprentice (as opposed to a "designer" approach in which the student can question, innovate and experiment)? What is the relevance of this approach in the age of mass-production and what are the implications for the place of crafting in design education in the 21st century?
  • Entrepreneurship - How can students learn business skills by being involved in entrepreneurial activities as a part of their design education?  What is the appropriate way of doing this, such that education does not become a mere "training ground" for the commercial world, but in a way that students are imbued with an innate sense of business ethics and a spirit of innovation?
  • Interaction - beyond theories and principles of interactivity, what is the role of doing and experiencing interaction in the teaching and learning of interaction? What opportunities are provided in this area by gaming and other types of platforms for social interaction?
  • Sustainability - how can design students learn sustainability through practicing sustainability, not just applying it as a set of principles their designs? How can students experience and practice issues requiring a long-term view, such as renewability, within the limited time of their formal design education?
  • Experimentation - What is the role of "doing things to see what happens" in design education, rather than working towards an outcome or set of "deliverables"? What are examples of the effective application of methods such as design probes and action research in teaching and learning design?

In all of these areas, and any others that may be proposed, certain issues are raised. What is the right balance between freedom and control in such learning situations? What are the pedagogical methods that support this type of learning? What are the implications for the design of subjects, curricula and the physical environment of design learning? In line with the nature of this year's theme, we are above all interested in case studies and examples of applied action-oriented practices such as these in design education.