EDUCATING THE RESPONSIBLE INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

M. Ramirez

University of New South Wales (AUSTRALIA)
The profession of industrial design is credited for the everyday products that help make our daily lives pleasurable; it is equally implicated in the stylistic obsolescence, excessive consumption, and mountains of landfill where most short-lived stuff get discarded at the end of their useful lives. The current state of our global environment dictates that we re-examine the unsustainable consequences of our practices, and education is seen to hold the key to progressing towards a more habitable world. This paper investigates how design universities are training future generations of product creators to become more responsible practitioners and thinkers and cognizant of the impacts of their profession. There is evidence that several design education institutions have started to seriously consider their broader responsibilities to society and to the planet, and some degrees in sustainable design have become available. It scrutinizes the undergraduate and postgraduate industrial design programs of universities in 43 countries around the world, searching for evidences of both ecologically sustainable and socially responsible design in their program descriptions, curricula, syllabi, and student portfolios. Website content analysis was used to understand how universities are showing commitment and capability in promoting the teaching and learning of sustainable and responsible design. This research will be useful for design educators who wish to benchmark and learn how other institutions are addressing issues of design ethics, sustainability and responsibility.