Teaching the critical role of designers in the data society: the DensityDesign approach

Michele Mauri, DensityDesign Lab, Design Department, Politecnico di Milano, Gabriele Colombo, María Briones, Paolo Ciuccarelli
2019 Insider Knowledge - Proceedings of the Design Research Society Learn X Design Conference, 2019   unpublished
In the modern 'data society', designers play a key role in the creation of artefacts that mediate our access to data and information. These artefacts include data visualisations and interfaces. Within this context, there is a growing risk of design educators training professionals who are indifferent to, or unaware of, the political power of the devices they contribute to creating. In this paper, we draw on our experiences in the DensityDesign course to identify and formalise a didactical
more » ... a didactical approach providing students with opportunities to critically reflect on their work while gaining the technical skills they need as information designers. The paper describes the course's historical evolution, its didactical goals and its current structure. It then provides an overview of the didactical approach identifying practices that other design instructors can reproduce, entirely or partially, at three different levels: through the methodological framework, the situational tactics, and the research artefacts students produce throughout the course. Finally, a critical discussion evaluating the limits and risks of the proposed approach is provided based on our didactical experiences.
doi:10.21606/learnxdesign.2019.12046 fatcat:mpqjsrg6oze7ji3b4gfde7n3ae