Global design education forum “global design education in next decade” was successfully held

On the evening of October 8th, 2022, the Global Design Education Forum and the 40th Anniversary Ceremony of Industrial Design, Hunan University was successfully held in a hybrid way of both online and offline. After 40 years of development since 1982, the Industrial Design of Hunan University has always taken the cultivation of leading design talents with "innovative applications on reality" as its core of discipline construction. Under the trend of international design education, this forum invited experts and scholars in the field of design education from the World Design Organization (WDO), the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, and Denmark to give keynote speeches and carry out discussions.

The invited guests were: Thomas Garvey, President-Elect of WDO, the former director of School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Canada; Cees De Bont, the Dean of School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University, UK; Lily Diaz-Kommonen, Professor of New Media, Department of Media, Aalto University, Finland; Troels Degn Johansson, Associate Professor and former head of Institute of Product Design, Royal Danish Academy, Denmark; Mick Grierson, Professor and Research Leader of Creative Computing Institute, University of the Arts, London, UK; Zhenyu Qian, Chair Professor of Interaction Design in Industrial Design, Purdue University, USA.

The forum was hosted by Professor Wang Wei of Hunan University. Professor Renke He was the leading guest of the panel discussion. Professor Tie Ji, the Dean of School of Design in Hunan University, addressed the opening ceremony of the forum.

Design innovation to address global challenges

Dr. Thomas Garvey first recognized the contribution in design education of industrial design, Hunan University over the past 40 years. In the next decade when all parts of the world gradually emerge from the impact of COVID-19, it is necessary for design educators around the world to jointly think about the mission of design education for future, holding a multilateral dialogue on the development of diversity around the world. Industrial design is closely related to economy, industry, society, and technological innovation, which requires global design educators to share educational resources, and to carry out academic collaboration in the fields of economic & social development, industrial technology & environmental resources, and many other aspects as well. Design educators around the world should provide as many design educational opportunities as possible through multiple way of learning to those who are seeking learning opportunities in design.

Dr. Thomas Garvey, President-Elect of WDO

Keynote Speech to Dr. Thomas Garvey

Dr. Troels Degn Johansson shared the European design community's thoughts on the current crisis in the global field. He emphasized that now more than ever, designers need to focus on global developments together. It is the high time to use design approaches to address global challenges such as the climate crisis, the carbon neutrality, the public health, the world peace, and the challenges that large-scale technological and economic development may bring to future societies. By using design innovation to try to address global issues, mutual understanding and meaningful cooperations should be promoted.

Dr. Troels Degn Johansson, Royal Danish Academy

Keynote Speech to Dr. Troels Degn Johansson

In terms of how to deal with global challenges through design education, Professor Cees De Bont cited the idea of "design for the real world" proposed by Victor Papanek. By providing more products, services and technologies for the market, a type of ability to anticipate both their direct and indirect effects is necessary. Designers should think strategically about the intended and unintended consequences brought by design interventions. With the rapid development of science and technology, future design education should foster and cultivate designers' strong sense of social responsibility and higher moral quality as Papanek expected several decades ago.

Dr. Cees De Bont, Loughborough University

The Mission of design education in the age of digital intelligence

Regarding the relationship between design education in the digital intelligence era and technological progress with social development, Professor Mick Grierson put forward the concept "Human-Centered AI", believing that design education in the digital intelligence era should be centered more on Human. With this idea, designers and creators shall be provided with more power to improve the impact of intelligent technology on human and society. Hence, an improved sustainability of science and technology for a better future is possible.

Dr. Mick Grierson, University of the Arts London

Keynote speech to Dr. Mick Grierson

Professor Zhenyu Qian proposed the model of "data-driven product design” and held that designers should change their design methods from knowledge-driven to data-driven. Using various data tools and intelligent platforms such as infographics and data sculpture enables designers in many ways. She presented that designers have all kinds of resources, challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities, and thus it is important to embrace the big data era by understanding and inspired by working with data.

Dr. Zhenyu Qian, Purdue University

Keynote speech to Dr. Zhenyu Qian

Professor Lily Diaz-Kommonen shared the research on the project of EU Digital Culture Virtual Reality Museum. Through the interactions between human and digital cultural heritage in both virtual and physical space, users can better interpret and reflect on European cultural heritage from different dimensions. Professor Diaz-Kommonen also noted that the use of technology and smart products can never replace the real interaction between people. In the age of digital intelligence, communities in different parts of the world should strengthen dialogue and connection.

Dr. Lily Diaz-Kommonen, Aalto University

Keynote speech to Dr. Lily Diaz-Kommonen

Cultivate leading talents with practical experience

In recent years, School of Design, Hunan University has been continuously exploring the multi-disciplinary talent training mode of digital intelligence empowerment. Centering on six modules of intelligent equipment, smart tranportation, smart health, data intelligence & service design, sustainable & ecological design, and digital culture innovation, it has established a series of databases, tools and platforms for design education and research, which have been positively recognized by global experts.

Prof. He at the panel discussion

In the panel discussion, Professor He asked the participating experts "how to improve design education in China in the future". The participants agreed that diversity, leadership, spirit of exploration and the ability to serve the real industry are the core of future education development. They also put forward higher expectations for the educational characteristics of Hunan University, which is guided by cultural innovation and digital empowerment.

Experts online during the panel discussion

In the last, experts shared the idea of looking forward to visit Hunan University again, hoping to discuss different design approaches and cultural concepts with Chinese students and faculty in person. The successful holding of this forum will be another starting point of School of Design, Hunan University after four decades.