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Design as a catalyst between STEM and the Arts in Education

2015, Athens / G.D.Liamadis


According to Lewis Mumford (1952), higher stages of development of a civilization are characterized by a balanced development of the symbol and tool, the art and technics. And even if Mumford was not ready to recognize both these qualities in industrial design of his times, it is now accepted that design considers science and meaning as one (Guellerin, 2011). However, division between the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and the arts in the early stages of Education (Polaine, 2011) threatens this advantageous unity of scientific background and intuitive conscience and brings the potential role of the designer to meet universal challenges and provide solutions for a better future into question. This paper examines the case study of a Design Lab for primary school pupils, supervised by the author as part of the educational programmes within the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Active involvement of 9-11 year-old pupils in the design of everyday objects justifies the necessity of the subjects they are being taught, promotes their ability to judge the objects around them and builds well-informed consumers: credibility conditions to bring Design Thinking into the agenda of primary and secondary education. Researching design pedagogies in this critical stage of education, prior to the STEM/Arts division, and analysing results in comparison with Higher Education students undertaking similar or identical projects in the School of Visual and Applied Arts and the School of Architecture, this paper aims to identify, understand and retrieve what is lost in between to inform a design curriculum where STEM is balanced by IDEA - Intuition, Design, Emotion, Art (Maeda, 2010): skills so central to design, as also crucial for everyone. Only by connecting the dots between different levels and fields of Education and by looking beyond the ideological boundaries of science and con-science, we may re-define Design as a unity and move towards a new ideology in the Agenda of Design Education. 

6th International Conference for Educational Didactics “EduDidactics 2015”, Pierce – The American College of Greece, Athens

  Design as a Catalyst Between STEM and the ARTS in Education