Norwegian version

Design Literacy

Research that develops and challenges practice is a common driver for the Design Literacy research group. Our research is grounded in a sustainable and socio-ethical perspective on design literacy.

Our research concerns the potential for design education to empower citizens for more sustainable futures, and further how design outcomes and design processes facilitate learning and catalyse change.

The research group is affiliated with the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design. 

Head of research group

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  • Members

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  • More about the research

    The Design Literacy research group employs varied approaches to research and knowledge development. Some members of the group conduct research through their design or teaching practice, others focus on design education, or the outcomes of design processes such as school buildings or garments. Several members of the group contribute to the critical discourse within the growing field of design education research.

    Design literacy is explored through a number of topics as outlined below.

  • Research topics

    Design literacy for social criticism and sustainable development 

    We regard design literacy as a basis for critical thinking and participation in society. Through research we ask what role design literacy can play in the education system from primary level to university level. Current areas of focus include how our study programs in fashion can deliver the requisite skills and knowledge required of graduates by the fashion industry, while also equipping them with the critical capacity to challenge current unsustainable practices. Also, what steps teacher education programmes might take to enable future teachers to engage students in social criticism and active citizenship through design projects.

    Design education at primary, lower and upper secondary level represents both a basis for a professional design education and a prerequisite for the choices we make in our day-to-day lives. The role of education in promoting design literacy for more sustainable societies is a key topic in this project area. We initiate discussions on design literacy by conducting research on practice, governing documents, and academic texts.  

    The design object’s role in learning and change

    Design mediates everyday life. Designed objects and systems shape our interactions with each other and the world around us. As such, design is critical to creating a sustainable future. How design objects can catalyse change and contribute to learning is a core area of inquiry within the design literacy research group.  Designers, investors, producers, and consumers are key actors in the decision-making chains in design and production processes that can have significant impacts on our shared future. One current research topic within the group considers the capacity of garments to enable responsible clothing practices of use and reuse. Another area considers the design of physical learning environments and questions the choices made with regards to accessibility for all and implications for both students and teachers.

    Participation and learning through creative processes 

    Creative processes comprise systems, tools and competence that enable participation and learning. Encompassing the exploration of both new technologies and established craft techniques we look into how creative processes promote communication and interaction. The development of digital learning resources and practices in the Makerspace fabrication workshop are an important part of the research group’s work. Virtual reality technologies are also explored as a tool for collaboration in building design and for learning in architecture projects. Children and adolescents’ skill in drawing and visual communication has been key to the research group’s work for many years and remains highly relevant. The role of creative processes in learning is another common topic among members of the research group. Currently, this involves research projects that investigate the integration of specific methods, i.e., future scenarios, and the value of professional communities for teachers developing design literacy. Further, researchers in the group are investigating within their own teaching practice, how various means of implementing creative processes can affect group dynamics, participation, or outcomes.   

    Design Literacy on Cristin (