PARIS: Estienne/Ensaama
11-13 April 2018


Prof. Job Rutgers, Dr John Fass, and Mo Ling Chui presented a conference paper titled A Shared Language for Design Competency Futures during the parallel sessions at Estienne on April 12. The paper described the conceptual and theoretical basis of the design competency framework, and its origins in the product design department at OCADU in Toronto led by Prof Rutgers. The emphasis of the paper was the need for a shared language to discuss design competencies in contrasting and adjacent design domains. This involves arriving at a consensually derived definition of what a competency is, how the concept of design competencies integrates the cognitive, sensory and psycho-motor domains, and how it can inform a flexible but structured process of curriculum development. The paper also showed recent research data from OCADU students who had visualised their own competency matrix in a variety of ways. Responses to the paper from the twenty people in attendance included questions about the flexibility of the framework, which can at first glance seem overly prescriptive, and questions about how well the framework would translate between cultures. The last point is one we intend to pursue since to date we have run workshops in France, Denmark, and USA. Finally, we discussed the format and aims of the workshop to be held the following day April 13 at Ensaama.


The following day April 13 Dr John Fass, Prof. Job Rutgers and Mo Ling Chui ran a workshop on the topic of Design Competency Futures at Ensaama. This event was sold out and drew design educators from all over the world including; Austria, Beirut, Israel, and Singapore. The purpose of the workshop was to; gain further insight to the process of devising design curricula using a design competency matrix, develop a shared language for articulating the future priorities of design education, engage a new group of collaborators using playful methods, and derive new competency categories for the existing matrix. We started by briefly outlining the project so far and the previous work we have done. Next we described the theoretical and conceptual background to the approach we have taken. Finally, we outlined the procedure and duration of the workshop activities. These consisted of a card game developed to elicit discussion and to generate new knowledge in the form of meta-competencies and more general design competencies. The game, for four players, required participants to build up a personal matrix of competencies by trading cards with other players. Next they were asked to construct a hierarchy of personal competencies. The final step was to integrate the hierarchies of all four players into a single representative matrix. The possibility to add new competencies was also made available during this step. To end the workshop we facilitated a wide ranging discussion on the topics we had explored together, and also encouraged reflection on the workshop process and materials themselves.

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