The full conference programme can be seen on ConfTool in August.


Workshops are scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 6th September 2023. Please register for the workshops no later than August 30th – Registration for workshops and activities will open soon.

Workshop 1:
Aligning project-based modules/subjects with teaching and learning impact and the SDGs – Catarina Lelis

Increasingly, it seems relevant to incorporate the SDGs in the Higher Education (HE) sector. Funding bids for research projects do ask for some reflection around these and impact must be anticipated so the investment can be justified. However, not so much has been done in regard to the pedagogical activity in the sense that learning and teaching activities still do not observe the integration of the SDGs — if not all, which is agreeably unlikely, at least a few of them. This is particularly easy to do in units/subjects/modules that are project-based, to some extent replicating what actually happens in industry. Innovation-led businesses, agencies and designers often receive several briefs simultaneously, having to prioritise or choose the one to work on at that moment, usually by considering aspects such as budget, time frame, strength and longevity of the relationship with the client, but also, the project itself, its message, challenge, values, and purpose. These situations involve difficult decisions and anxious moments, due to the lack of 1) a supporting and defining framework for said decision, and 2) a system for reflecting on how each of the possible projects to choose from can become a more or less impactful, meaningful and pleasurable action. The same applies to students in several learning situations: their UG’s final project, CBL within a subject or module, the topic for their master’s dissertation and, sometimes, even for their PhD proposals.

Within this workshop, The Impact Plan[1] would be presented and used to support reflection around how the module leader can better align his/her units/subjects/modules with short, medium and long-term impact (and ultimately the SDGs).

The tool operates as a Determine heuristic, which is of relevance prior to or right at the beginning of stage Discover of the Double Diamond framework, for rapid project impact assessment, grounded on the anticipation of the possible impact of projects under consideration and before initiating any further research. It involves a canvas and a deck of 20 cards, aiming at supporting the design-related project or activity selection’s “moment of truth”, namely, when having to choose from a pool of many possibilities; it presents a system for early strategic decision-making, individual or group continuous development planning, and impact-centred thinking. It does so by matching the projects’ anticipated impact with the motivations, capacities, ambitions, and perceptions of value of those involved in its execution, making them consider not only the usual aspects mentioned above for choosing a project, but also their perception that they can (by choosing one project rather than another) better contribute to a better world — especially if considering the UN’s 17 Goals for Sustainable Development that we all should observe.

Hence, those participating in this workshop will first experiment the use of the Impact Plan as if they were students, stepping into their shoes and imagining their purposes, needs and motivations when facing one or more possible academic projects, anticipating the long-term effects and backcasting into the day they commit to the one project. After that, participants will be invited to reflect on how the units where they teach could change in order to better accommodate the SDGs. A generic unit/subject/module study guide will be used as the main supportive framework for this second activity.

Workshop 2:
Design for diversity, raising cultural awareness in design – Kristof Vaes & Doris Van Boxem

Human-centred design has played a prominent role in the design world for several decades. The user is placed at the centre of the design process and designers recognise, among other things, the need for inclusive design to consider physical disabilities, mental health, gender neutrality, etc. However, a specific human aspect remains underexposed: how cultural background and today’s super-diverse society affects users’ needs and, more fundamentally, the design process of the designer himself.

As the world becomes increasingly global and diverse, the current generation of designers will have to design for a very mixed cultural context other than their own. As such, it is important to be aware of cultural differences and how they shape the perceptions of both users and designers. Designers need to become aware that they too are shaped by their cultural background, customs and values, and that this shapes their view of the world. Even within their own cultural context, it is valuable for professional designers, researchers and students alike to design culturally aware, as more and more societies face increasing diversity where boundaries between cultures blur and merge.

Awareness and confrontation with one’s own cultural bias is at the heart of this workshop. During this workshop, we present an educational serious game that makes designers and student designers think about cultural differences, the need for superdiversity in design and the responsibility that comes with it. The serious game introduces them to various features and design principles of culturally sensitive design in an activating and playful way. The game is a physical board and card game and is based on literature research, psychological frameworks and expert contributions. Initial tests were conducted by design student as part of the inclusive design course at the Faculty of Design Sciences of the University of Antwerp.

Participants in the workshop will work in groups to learn about the serious game, which consists of three levels. The first level introduces them to cultural differences and confronts their own cultural biases. Level two delves into real-life situations where a design failed because the cultural context was not sufficiently considered. Finally, in level three, participants learn how to apply this acquired awareness in the design field. Before the game begins, care is taken to ensure that all presenters feel safe and respected. With our participation in E&PDE 2023, we hope to draw even more attention to Design for Diversity and wish to further refine our serious game.

Workshop 3:
Inclusivity and exclusivity in collaborative design practices in engineering education – Dr Marianthi Leon Dr Vanda Papafilippou & Dr Anna Chatzmichali

Diversity and Inclusion have been a persistent challenge in Engineering, as women, disabled, ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ engineers experience engineering as less inclusive (Royal Academy of Engineering 2017). For example, decades of research highlight that women remain underrepresented in engineering and design fields (Papafilippou, Durbin and Conley, 2022), and as a result, their experiences in collaborative design practices are often characterised by marginalization and exclusion. Similarly, research on neurodivergent engineers, indicated that although they have unique strengths which align to engineering, such as creative thinking and attention to detail (Engineering Council, 2022; Loiacono and Ren, 2018) they might encounter difficulties in collaborative design practices due to the traditional focus on conformity and uniformity (Papafilippou and Downes, 2023).

Unfortunately, the marginalisation of minorities does not apply only on the workplace, but also on engineering undergraduate programmes, as they are often perceived as unwelcoming for underrepresented and minoritised students, who are often subjected to sexism, racism, stereotyping and isolation (Fouad et al., 2017; Smith et al., 2021). However, this, apart from contributing to the under-representation of minorities, also causes problems with collaboration, teamwork, and group projects, which are central both to the profession of engineering and engineering curricula (Isaac, Kotluk and Tormey, 2023). Nevertheless, there is limited work and research on ways to support educators to train engineers in a way that is inclusive and supportive for all, attributes that become particularly pertinent in the field of design which is concerned with the importance of appropriating empathy in practice (Lavaf-Pour, Barakat and Chatzimihali, 2022).

The aim of this workshop is to provide a space for a critical discussion and practical guidance for the academic community to promote and support an engineering and design education that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve. In the workshop, participants will first reflect upon the early findings of a study that evaluated students’ perceptions of team collaborative behaviours during design thinking processes without the application of a specific collaborative design framework (Leon and Laing, 2022) as well as some relevant findings from other research projects on the experiences of female, expatriate and neurodivergent engineers. Then, the participants will engage in discussions about the barriers and enables to inclusion. Lastly, through adopting a stakeholder engagement framework and fishbone diagramming the participants will be invited to analyse the causes and effects of exclusionary practices and identify solutions to promote inclusivity. In this way, we hope, through a problem-solutions analysis, to create a co-designed framework and a roadmap to support the future of inclusive design education and practice.

The workshop participants will be invited to form an international working group as well as co-author an academic journal paper outlining the outcomes of this work.

Workshop 4:
Career Topography: Visual Reflections – Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, Carly Hagins & Ben Bush

Recent developments in education have led to a shift in focus from knowledge acquisition to the successful application of the same knowledge, meeting demands of society and industry. Design has emerged as an effective approach to implement the diversity and complexity of practical applications into education. While design education is reputed for simulating real-world challenges that taps on ‘know-how’, we find that an equally powerful offering is in the facilitation of ‘know-when’. The design process when adopted (as a whole or in parts) in education offers avenues for acquisition and trans-disciplinary application of domain-specific and generic competencies. With this growing recognition of design and its integration into a wide variety of courses and curricula, educators have expressed challenges when having to identify, foster and assess design competencies relevant for their courses. In this workshop we will introduce the Design Competency Framework (DesCA) developed by the authors as a solution to help educators identify design competencies that can be incorporated into their course along with design tools and methods to facilitate teaching, learning and assessment of these competencies. With over 100 skills, 80 knowledge components and 65 attitudes categorized into 12 abilities associated to the design process, the DesCA framework will be the basis for an interactive discussion on the use of such a competency-based approach in design and design-related education.

This workshop welcomes everyone interested in design and design-related education, in particular educators, and those involved in curriculum development. It could also benefit design learners, researchers and those in practice.

Irrespective of the discipline, all education aims to make students more competent through the acquisition of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) and further development of newly acquired or already held competencies (Kouwenhoven, 2012). Many desired competencies can be effectively acquired through introducing design in education (Conley, 2004, 2011; Gribbin et al., 2016). It has been stated that it is an educator’s role to identify these pertinent competencies and direct their curriculum toward nurturing them (Bakarman, 2005). However, there are difficulties they face in doing so—such as the lack of consensus on what precisely competency is (Bakarman, 2005; Conley, 2011; Gribbin et al., 2016; Weinert, 2001), challenges with identifying competencies and assessing their development (Silva et al., 2020; Thandlam Sudhindra et al., 2022), the variation in expectations within teacher teams and often the lack of curriculum design expertise (Huizinga et al., 2014). In response, the DesCA framework is being developed to help educators select, teach, and assess competencies through design and design-related courses/curricula in higher education (Thandlam Sudhindra & Blessing, 2021).

Workshop 5:
Visit to the Sagrada Familia workshop

This trip has a limited number of spaces and a strict start time. It is recommended for those arriving in Barcelona early.

Post-Conference Activities

Activities are planned for the morning of Saturday 9th September 2023. Please register for the post-conference activities no later than August 30th – Registration for workshops and activities will open soon.

Post-Conference Activity 1:

Post-Conference Activity 2: