Teaching alternative Paradigms through Critical Design

Lenneke Kuijer and Holly Robbins

pp.  172 - 201download






This paper introduces and reflects on a master elective course for Interaction Design students titled Researching the Future Everyday. Aiming to equip students with the skills to critically adapt their own practices to the changing societal roles of design, the course guides students through a critical design approach with three key elements: a Science and Technology Studies paper that provides an alternative paradigm for assumed relations between design and societal issues, a Critical Design approach that makes the paradigm relatable for designers, and the use of Research Products to stimulate generalization of design implications beyond the exemplar. By analyzing ten student projects, we identify two patterns of using critical design to extend and enrich alternative paradigms. One uses oppositional designs to develop alternative design approaches. The other uses accelerational designs to extend alternative problem spaces. These patterns and their variations reveal avenues to further support students in developing critical practices.  


Keywords: Science and Technology Studies; alternative paradigm; future everyday life; Interaction Design; Research Products; Designing to Know.



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