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THE FUTURE OF DESIGN EDUCATION
During Beirut Design Week 2012, we organized an international conference with design educators from Lebanon, Europe and the USA to initiate a discourse on the Future of Design Education. With an ever-changing landscape and understanding of design as a discipline, what are the challenges that educators face today? What is the cultural significance of the designs produced? How come sociologists are now heads of design schools? What is the difference between multdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design? How drastically will design education change in the future? These are some of the topics that were discussed during the full day conference, with each educator providing the audience with a distinct opinion based on the teaching methods of his or her design school. The conference also opened up room for some interesting debates between Lebanese design students and their educators. The list of speakers include: Linda Selwood Choueiry (NDU), Uta Brandes (Koeln International School of Design), Halim Choueiry (AUST), Michael Erlhoff (Koeln International School of Design), Gordon Hush (Glasgow School of Art), Jamer Hunt (Parsons New School), Randa Abdel Baki (LAU), Ayssar Arida, Marc Baroud (ALBA) and Tim Marshall (Parsons New School).
DESIGN FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION
During a mini-conference about Social Entrepreneurship hosted by AltCity in Beirut, Doreen Toutikian gave a talk about Design for Social Innovation . Many of the attendees were part of non-profit organizations or social entrepreneurs and were anxious to learn about how design can help them with creative problem solving in their work and business model; the discussions that followed brought on new possibilities for collaboration.
The audience were eager to learn more about the design thinking process from research and ideation to prototyping and implementation. Doreen provided ample examples from around the world as well as some initiatives by the MENA Design Research Center such as the Desmeem project.
OPEN DESIGN PANEL @ SHARE BEIRUT 2012
Design is a set of creative tools that encompasses a process of research, insight analysis, ideation, implementation and communication. The vast and fluid concept of design has become a catalyst for social innovation. Designers are no longer limited to client needs, but are finding themselves drawn to tackling social and environmental issues using their unique skill set. By adopting human-centered design to empower people, influencing organizations through participatory co-design, creating public interventions to form new ideas of awareness, and developing open data visualizations and platforms, designers are a key factor to the new wave of change.
This discussion showed the various scopes of the designer outside the commercial sphere, and presented the audience with examples of some socially conscious efforts that are made possible within the world of design and social innovation. Finally each designer discussed their own definition of Open Design. To Rawad, design became everything; to Elena is was the breaking of disciplinary boundaries: to Andreas, he wanted design to be open for more than just designers; to Doreen, it is the founding of the MENA Design Research Center.
From left to right: Prof. Michael Erlhoff (Koeln Intenational School of Design), Doreen Toutikian, Prof. Gordon Hush (The Glasgow School of Art), Halim Choueiry, and Prof. Tim Marshall (Parsons New School for Design)
From left to right: Prof. Ruedi Baur discussing Civic City, a postgraduate program in the School of Art & Design in Geneva and Michael Anastasiades informing the audience about his journey as a designer.
BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK CONFERENCE 2013
Design is a versatile discipline and designers have reached a very broad flexibility in their respective fields. The Beirut Design Week 2013 Conference brings together for the first time in the region, designers and architects from the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Lebanon under one roof to come together and discuss Design in all its broadness. From product designers who have redefined aesthetic value such as Michael Anasstasiades, to fashion designers creating garments from food and organic material like Suzanne Lee, and even food designers recreating what we eat -Magali Wehrung- ; the spectrum of design seems to grow ever further with each innovation. 3D printing, another innovative growing technology has been spearheaded by Guillaume Credoz in the entire MENA region as a design revolution. Already City X from San Francisco, have started training children between 8 to 10 years old with this great technology, helping them to reshape their cities and the fictional characters that inhabit them. Sarah Thelwall and Jason Steel will be discussing Fashion Design as an education and a career path from a local and global perspective, guiding young designers through the journey of this field of design. While Rany Sader, a lawyer who surrounds himself with designers and creatives, will tell us a few secrets on how to protect your intellectual property rights, and give us some startling examples from all around. Architecture and mobile technology are also not far from discourse, as Conrad Bercah’s panel will certainly prove, with the help of Ayssar Arida and Imad Gebrayel. Architect Valerio Ferrari, takes us through his own approach with designing interactive and immersive theaters around the world. As organizers ofBDW & the Conference, MENA Design Research Center focuses on design for social impact. Therefore, it is a great honor to have the Director of Index, an international award dedicated to the cause with us. Moreover, T+HUIS also a design for social impact studio from the Netherlands, have inspired us with their community building projects for years. The understanding of the role of design in civic society as well as community, is in fact a specialty of Ruedi Baur from the Master Program in Geneva. But researching the core dynamics of community which is built on TRUST, has been the month-long project of Jeremy Beaudry and his international Master of Industrial Design students from the Philadelphia University of the Arts.