Design Council chief executive calls for design education change

Design Council chief executive David Kester has called for a change in the categorisation of design education.

In a speech delivered at the Liberal Democrat Party conference fringe in Bournemouth yesterday, Kester called for design to be more closely linked within Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Stem subjects are regarded as strategically important to the UK economy and are ringfenced in terms of research funding.

Earlier this year, Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, called for design to be included as a Stem subject, saying, ‘The dots aren’t being joined up. Engineering and technology are rated, but design isn’t. The big issue now is making design a Stem subject.’

In his speech, Kester also called for a sustainability element to be embedded across education, and for the nature and value of creativity to become an integral part of all learning.

He said, ‘Our educators have a responsibility to bring hard business and technological skills together with creative problem-solving capabilities.

‘The business community itself has to step up to the plate… Finally, Government has an important leadership role which it can play through smart spending and policymaking.’

Kester will also deliver the speech at fringe events organised by the Work Foundation and Social Market Foundation at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Hide Comments (4)Show Comments (4)
  • Ryan November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    About damn time!

  • Brian November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I was teaching Design and production of design ideas over 40 years ago! I worked with the brilliant Owen Frampton and we have produced many leading designers in the UK today. The fact that the importance and position of the subject is still being debated beggars belief!

  • Professor Simon Bolton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think that we are all in agreement, within the design professions, that design should be considered a stem subject. A critical factor that needs to be considered is “language” and designs ability to communicate consistently its benefits to industry. Currently the engineering and science based areas are much more effective in this area. This is not to say that successes have and are not being achieved already. Collaborative initiatives within the UK such as Design London (RCA/Imperial), C4D (Cranfield/UAL) and others are attempting to bring hard business and technological skills together with creative problem-solving capabilities. A good starting point for those interested in this area can get good insights by visiting the Design Council website and see current activities relating to technology transfer:

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