'DESIGN EXCHANGE' - Spanning the academic-practice divide 

Design education often operates in the realm of the theoretical, where deadlines are self-imposed and outcomes  are not always of practical consequence.  Its goal  is to acquire knowledge, skills, and habits of mind and to practice the application of these to solve  meaningful  problems via a deliberate iterative process. In design education,  tools and  methods are constantly evolving and being refined;  however, the bulk of these advances in knowledge  seem to  rarely  reach  the professional community. 

On the other hand,  design practice largely operates in the realm of the practical, with a fixed calendar and a strong focus on pragmatic considerations, including budgets and billable time. Designs are realized in the real world and go on to have long-term implications in the way we live, work, and play. Economic pressures ensure that there is increasingly less time for theoretical inquiry and applied research. 

As we enter into the fourth industrial revolution, the work of the designer is rapidly changing. How can practitioners and academic institutions better collaborate to ensure that the design community has a hand in shaping the fourth industrial revolution, rather than allowing it to shape us?   The coming economic, ecological, and social changes urgently necessitate a meaningful conversation between design educators and design practitioners.  

DESIGN EXCHANGE seeks to nurture this spirit of collaboration and invites participants to come together as a community and LISTEN with EMPATHY, as we propose innovative and meaningful changes in the ways we learn, teach, apply, adapt, and perceive across the academic-practice divide. Our shared goal is to EXCHANGE lessons learned, best practices, case studies, research, and future outlooks.  

The IDSA Education Symposium will take place on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 4pm EST - 8pm EST as part of the IDC 2020 24-hour live stream event. See the full schedule for details.

Symposium Emcee

Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA

Education Director, IDSA Board of Directors

Associate Professor of Practice, The University of Texas at Austin

Verena's work focuses on the diffusion of design thinking and doing practices in design and non-design-oriented disciplines, with a focus on exploring visualization as a gateway to creative confidence and design-ability. She has been an educator for 15 years, teaching in Germany and the U.S. at Ohio State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Drexel University, and Iowa State University. She frequently facilitates workshops on sketchnoting, design thinking and strategic planning in both academia and industry.

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For over 50 years, the Industrial Designers Society of America has worked to advance the practice of industrial design through education, information, community and advocacy.  Our roots stretch to the beginning of the profession and our members are, and have been, some of the most celebrated industrial designers of all time. Today, we exist as a global voice for industrial design within a broad ecosystem of design disciplines and we celebrate the cross-functional overlap of many creative fields.

Learn more at IDSA.org