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Which clippings match 'Cumulus Association' keyword pg.1 of 1
04 OCTOBER 2013

Meredith Davis: A Call to Action for Design Educators

"I believe that design education, at the most fundamental level, views complexity as a problem to be overcome through reductivist artifacts, not as an inevitable and pervasive attribute of life in the post–industrial community. So if the future is about an ever–expanding web of connectedness, how are we preparing students for meaningful work in this complex world? I'd like to suggest that we're not. Despite the obvious emotional impact of Glaser's poster, he belongs to a generation in which the goal of design was to make things simple. Negroponte, on the other hand, is a technologist for whom the design goal is to render the complex manageable and to make complicated things meaningful.

Almost everything about today's graphic design education is matched to Glaser's worldview. We structure both curricula and projects in craft–based progressions from simple to complex, from the abstract to the contextualized. In typography classes, for example, we begin with the letter, and then advance to the word, sentence, paragraph, and page. Sequences of typography courses are built on this simple to complex progression, when opening InDesign demands that students address the formal and interpretive issues of publication design simultaneously; how do you defer a discussion of leading, of column width, of the modernist preconceptions of software, of language? The only option is default, and what kind of typographic lesson is that?

The reality is that our strategy for teaching typography is residue from how students could comp type in predigital times; by drawing. It is the organizational structure for every type book since James Craig's 1970 Designing with Type, but it holds less relevance for what students need to know about communication in a digital world. Typography today is a complex relational system that depends on the interplay of formal, technological, linguistic, and cultural variables. Yet we persist in teaching this progression of scale, isolating such variables within their own distinct conceptual frameworks and rules.

The same strategy exists for how students progress in other studies of form. Foundation lessons begin with abstraction: point, line, and plane; color wheels; and paper–folding exercises. We defer discussions of meaning and context until later levels of the curriculum and beginning students learn these abstraction principles only through patterns in what makes their teachers smile. Nothing about these studies resembles what students know about in the real world, and as a colleague recently suggested, what the clients of design see in our work. So what if we begin with the familiar and complex?"

(Meredith Davis, 4 April 2008, AIGA Boston Presentation)

Presentation made at W/Here: Contesting Knowledge in the 21st Century, Emily Carr University of Art+Design, Vancouver, Canada, 7–9 December 2011.


Simon Perkins
21 FEBRUARY 2013

The Design Research Society

"The Design Research Society is a multi–disciplinary learned society for the design research community worldwide.The DRS was founded in 1966 and facilitates an international design research network in around 40 countries."



1966Cumulus Associationdesigndesign research • design research community • design research network • Design Research SocietyDRS • international design research network • learned society • multidisciplinary • multidisciplinary research • multidisciplinary scholarship • researchresearch communityresearch networksymposium • worldwide society


Simon Perkins
30 MAY 2010

Enabling entrepreneurial organisational culture within art and design

"Gibbs, Knapper and Piccinin (2009) describe a perceived shift of organisational culture over time from, collegial to bureaucratic to corporate and finally to a fourth entrepreneurial culture characterised 'by a focus on competence and an orientation to the outside world, involving continuous learning in a turbulent context. The management style involves devolved and dispersed leadership. Decisionmaking is flexible and emphasises accountable, professional expertise. Students are seen as partners.' (p. 6). UCA is considering whether an entrepreneurial culture is most suited to its ambitions for increased internal and external collaboration and if so the associated consequences for the working relationships between leaders and academics, and the degree of academic autonomy.

If universities were to accept a need to change their cultures and become more entrepreneurial, then it is possible that this might lead to confusion amongst staff as they experience aspects of different types of culture. Gibbs, Knapper and Piccinin (2009) note that this model of four organisational cultures is oversimplified and that is possible for 'individuals to hold conflicting perceptions of the organisational culture at the same time' (p. 6). Nevertheless, the model does seem to be useful in helping to reflect on the type of culture that might be desirable for a university offering art and design subjects."

(Paul Coyle, 2010)

Coyle, P. (2010). 'Crossing Boundaries – Creative Spaces'. Cumulus, International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media. Genk, Belgium.


2010 • Association of University Administrators • AUA • boundary • Christopher Knapper • collaborationcollaborative working • Creative Arts Leadership and Management • creative industriesCumulus Associationdisciplines • entrepreneurial culture • Graham Gibbshigher educationindependent decision-makingindividual initiativeinnovationleadershipmanagementmultidisciplinarynexusorganisational culture • organisational models • partnership • Paul Coyle • public value • Sergio Piccinin • teachingUCAUKUniversity for the Creative Arts • values-driven leadership


Simon Perkins

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