DI(dot)EDU – A Design Inquiry Agitation

Denise Gonzales Crisp, Peter Hall, Emily Luce, Ben Van Dyke DesignInquiry, USA, UK, CA

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As design educators struggle with the challenge of responding to complex, interdisciplinary problems, pedagogical foundations that are cemented in an era disciplinary limitations are falling short of the need. Alternative and agile approaches to design education are being explored by some educators. For over ten years, the non-profit foundation DesignInquiry has evolved a developmentally-oriented approach that has implications for education as it informs alternatives for design research methods. The perspective favors interdisciplinarity, collaborative, and relational discovery.

Founded in 2004, the small but influential DesignInquiry group has staged a series of intensive interdisciplinary gatherings in the USA, Canada, and Europe. Each think-and-make-tank rallies around a timely research topic. The proceedings strategically de-emphasize boundaries separating disciplines with a structure that invites permeable and responsive activity. Drawing from Constructivist approaches to learning, gatherings utilize adaptive frameworks from, for instance, 1960s counterculture and improvisational theater. Talks, workshops, cooking and other making-oriented activities combine to explore themes such as failure, designing less, site-specific design (« Being Here »), speed (« Fast Forward »), making-do and, in 2015, unequal and non-monetary exchange systems (« No Quo »).