Controlling the Discipline: Education, Intention, Assumption, Prejudice

HARFIELD, Steve and BURGESS, Peter (2009). Controlling the Discipline: Education, Intention, Assumption, Prejudice. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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This paper explores, from a philosophical and speculative rather than empirical perspective, and within the design disciplines in general, the complex relationships, between practice and education, and their respective assumptions and prejudices. The paper begins by characterising design education from three perspectives: first, education 'about' the discipline, in the sense of providing information that explicates the general disciplinary ‘content’ and focus; second, education 'for' the discipline, which usually accords to notions of training; and third, education as the ‘instilling’ of discipline itself, the elucidation and establishment of rigour and control. It then explores the nature of disciplinary 'for practice' education and sets out the extensive range of presumptions which often underlies the relationship between education and practice. Examining the current relationship between disciplinary education and tertiary studies, the paper looks at critical inquiry and disciplinary research, before focusing on competing institutional values and their operational and material consequences. The paper concludes with the example of architectural education's response to the demise of modernism, and at the lessons that might be learned from such educational change.

design education; design philosophy; ideology; training; disciplinarity

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2015 19:43

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