From Under the Rubble Faculty Panel: Designing
Design History Curriculum Now
July 22, 2023
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (Mountain Time)
Register on Zoom here:
When the brain registers disparate stories about a topic, it
invents a construct into which those stories fit in order to avoid
cognitive dissonance. Such construct-making can have good
effects, like giving you the impression that you are the same
person today that you were yesterday, or binding a group of
people together by giving them a shared view of the world. And
it can have bad effects, like stereotyping, gender bias, and
endemic racial prejudice.
People interested in design’s past are currently unearthing huge
swaths of information that went missing in the last hundred years
of storytelling about what design is and has been. This unearthing
has thrown the teaching of design histories into reverberating
dissonance. The original, Eurocentric construct has been
torpedoed, but a shiny new construct is not readily available—
and may never be.
How do you construct a group of stories that give a student an
understanding of what has gone before them? How do you prepare
them to get the reference, recognize the dropped name and what it
signifies? How do you help them find a shared heritage in 11-15
weeks without resorting to building your syllabus around the Tome
of Design History?
This panel will discuss practical ideas on what might go into a
design history syllabus, or might be added to studio classes—to
provide students with history not scattershot, but structured.