Over the last few decades design has moved from being a largely decorative discipline towards being strategic – used to create change in the way people behave, or in how companies act. A particularly good example of this is the emerging field of “service design” which covers everything from developing the way in which an airline interacts with its customers to the way patients are treated in hospitals, or the way communities come together to solve social issues.
DJCAD is a research-led institution, and much of its research involves understanding or changing the way things are done, or helping people communicate or learn. This module gives you an opportunity to find out about much of this work, but also to begin your own journey as a research-led designer, developing new skills that you can use in conjunction with your discipline-specific skills, or on their own, to explore problems and issues that at first glance seem far removed from what you might think of when you think of design. In the past, students have looked at health care, crime, addiction, and education among many others. You may focus on these, or identify your own area of interest. But the purpose is to ask some fundamental questions about design:
- How has design caused this?
- How can design improve this?
- How can design stop this?
- How can design help us understand this?
Plug those questions in to any situation – climate change, graffiti, smoking and drug abuse, low voter turnout, racism, cancer care, schools, communications, craft production, dealing with clients – and you’re on your way to being a strategic designer, and a research-led designer, looking to achieve Change By Design.
This module focuses on the development of “secondary research” skills – examining what other people have already looked at to deepen your understanding of an issue. A semester 2 module, The 21st Century Designer, will develop your “primary research” skills – acquiring knowledge for yourself through direct interaction with people and environments.
The module makes use of a lecture programme and workshops, and expects you to use your time for independent and group-based study which will be guided.