The Missing Link in Higher Design Education: Ethics and Social Responsibility


The design profession is an important part of higher education in the arts. Students are guided and shaped in the process of becoming a qualified designer. Qualified designers need not only to learn technical skills, they also need to learn ethics and social responsibility. Data shows that existing design education only informs students of what social responsibilities they may need to take on. However, it does not contribute to the betterment of society or the community through education or by allowing students to use their skill sets as designers. Therefore, social responsibility needs to be addressed more at the design education level. It needs to be introduced and taught to students at an early stage of their education so that they fully understand the power and impact creation can have on society and the role this plays in materialism, overconsumption, and our modern consumer culture. In this presentation, I will also mention the pedagogy of Innovation Education in Iceland, which is a new policy within the Icelandic school system. In Innovation Education (IE), students receive ethical training to identify needs and problems in their environment and find solutions through collaboration with the community. I believe this integrated teaching philosophy can be replicated and implemented in higher education in art and design, where students are trained to be socially and ethically responsible and become truly competent designers through ethical training and collaborative practice with their community.

Author Information
Simon Dai, Lewis University, United States
Heide Lukosch, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Bahareh Shahri, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: PCE2023
Stream: Higher education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon