UNDERSTANDING AESTHETICS IN DESIGN EDUCATION
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Egan, Anna
Institution: Oslomet, Norway
Section: Educating Designers and Engineers for a Sustainable Future in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.50
One of the more pressing issues that the product design profession faces today, is that of sustainability. Within design education this is mainly addressed with a focus on the three r`s, recycling, reuse and repair. In Kristine Harpers ‘Aesthetic Sustainability: Product design and sustainable usage, she argues that another way to create sustainable products is that of obtaining aesthetic durability that provides the user with an emotional connection or aesthetic nourishment. Such an approach requires both a broad and in-depth knowledge of aesthetic ideas, something that the contemporary product design education can focus on in new ways. This paper explores the challenges of aesthetics in design education through a pilot study that aims to identify possible problem areas and further research opportunities by asking the following research question: How is aesthetics taught in a Product Design program at the bachelor level, and how do the applied teaching methods provide the students with versatile tools that can facilitate innovation through design? This study uses a phenomenological approach with a focus on qualitative methods, consisting of in-depth interviews with teachers, as well as a mixed method approach to the student’s point of view. These methods were triangulated with an analysis of a variety of descriptions of aesthetics in the learning outcomes, attached to each subject in the bachelor program. The goal of these methods was to capture a multitude of perspectives on how aesthetics is taught and to discuss how this can empower the students to use aesthetics in creating innovative and sustainable design solutions.