2022 Design Educators Conference
Organized in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art + Design

The 2022 conference theme is learn, unlearn, relearn


The conference will address new innovations in teaching and research practices, reflect on and question what we know about our own limitations as educators and researchers and offer critique about what it means to rethink our discipline as we navigate uncharted and vulnerable spaces.


Keynote: Terresa Moses, Creative Director at Blackbird Revolt

Talk: Centring Abolition in the Paradigm of Pedagogy

Description: “The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy.” –Bell Hooks Academic institutions should fundamentally support higher learning that will create positive shifts in our ways of thinking, doing and being in our communities. However, because of the influence of white supremacy and colonialism, individuals who are situated in the academic space may not have the ability or support to shift pedagogy and curriculum towards justice-centered outcomes. Like many systems of violence that systematically oppress historically underrepresented, underserved and underinvested communities, the system of education needs to be radically dismantled to make way for abolitionist futures that centre freedom and liberation. In Terresa's keynote, she will explore the concepts of identity, power, privilege and culture to develop pedagogical experiences that move toward an anti-racist, social-justice centred and abolitionist paradigm of pedagogy.


Evan Long, Professor at Centennial College

Talk: Game Theory

Description: Over the course of seven years, Evan continually re-built the advertising class he teaches at Centennial College, revising and improving it each time. To adapt to online learning during lockdown, it completely transformed into something resembling an international online game show, happening simultaneously across every continent except Antartica, all from his basement in East York every Friday afternoon. In this presentation, he explains the above and delves into specifics; For example, how offering silly prizes for ridiculous assignments gamified his syllabus and paved a way for any student to become totally engaged, regardless of their experience with creative software or their chosen craft (be it design, writing or strategy).


Hope Akello, Sessional Faculty, and Eugenia Bertulis, Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Talk: Strategies For Bringing Code Literacy to Design Studio Classrooms

Description: How can we, design teachers, better bring tech practices into the classroom, given the systemic inequities facing different students which result in a technology learning gap? Design education is increasingly challenged with contextualizing digital literacy in the studio classroom. For the last thirty-five years, systemic gender, class, and race barriers have resulted in a digital divide. This digital divide results in both unequal access to as well as unequal facility with technology, skills, and understanding of the structures underlying our information age. This presentation is a collection of strategies for bringing code literacy to design studio classrooms in ways that can help mitigate or make up for the unequal ways people feel they have the right to technical knowledge and practice.


Eric Lee, Assistant Professor at University of the Fraser Valley

Talk: Canadian Bank Notes: Retelling the History of Canada

Description: Canada was one of the first countries to adopt a multiculturalism policy in 1971. The policy acknowledged that Canadians come from diverse backgrounds and that all cultures have intrinsic value. However, research has suggested otherwise. Canadian expressed that the national banknote should represent more multiculturalism, gender equality, and Aboriginal or First Nation culture. This students’ project aimed to learn new ways to (re)tell the stories of Canada and understand what is meaningful to young Canadians today and for years to come. Students identified the design issue, developed the visual content, and implemented the design outcome. The results were similar to the hypothesis. They demonstrated a variety of depictions of Canada, such as the representation of women, Indigenous cultures and multiculturalism. In addition, results also suggested that students have grown interested in telling the narrative of gender diversity and environmental issues but are hesitant to communicate information about Indigenous cultures. On this basis, it is recommended that further exploration is needed to identify opportunities to include indigenous knowledge and methods as a factor in learning.


Lisa Boulton, Research Associate at ECUAD + BCIT and Nadia Beyzaei, Coordinator of the Health Design Lab and an instructor in the Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media at ECUAD

Talk: Participatory Design

Description: Three design courses run over multiple semesters at Emily Carr University of Art + Design have demonstrated the value of learning a Participatory Design methodology within the context of equity seeking community (Canada Council for the Arts, n.d.) groups. This study revealed how integrating the plurality of experience outside of academia into a participatory framework within a course can shift student perspectives around the inclusiveness of their personal practice and reimagine the structures and power dynamics of a post secondary learning environment.


Aidan Rowe, Associate Professor, Design Studies at the University of Alberta

Talk: Shifting Design Education: From Outputs to Outcomes

Description: In this presentation, Aidan argues that a key consideration is the reframing of a central tenet of design education, that of the production of outputs. Instead, he put forth that what is needed is a focus on the outcomes of design practice.


Cameron Neat, Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Leo Vicenti, Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Talk: Knitting Networks While Sitting in Place

Description: What is foundational to our program today? What does anti-oppressive pedagogy look like? What values are we holding and how can we live them? Drawing from our practices in place based research, story sharing and community engagement we designed projects that explore where we are and what it means to be with each other at this time.


3:30PM - 3:45PM

Daniel McCafferty, Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba

Talk: Design Pipelines

Description: This talk will discuss the radical potential in graphic design education. It will explore this radical potential through a consideration of unexpected approaches to knowledge production. In particular, it will reflect on the role of love and anarchy in contemporary design education.


Daniel McCafferty, Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba and Ali Shamas Qadeer, Designer and Educator at OCAD University

Talk: Graphic Design Vs Punk Rock 
Description: A common gateway into the professional world of graphic design is music. Graphic design practices are littered with aging punks, DIY scenesters, and indie label lords. It was the semi-weekly production of show posters, album and tape covers, t-shirts, stickers, as well as the daily concerns around forms of representation on-stage, in print, and on college radio that led young punks to the manifold practices of graphic design—from its high rhetorical realms to its rote networks of production and distribution. Graphic design and the aesthetics of punk are also connected through an ethos based on communities, participation, and information dissemination. Graphic design, however, may equally be an unexpected place for punks to end up. It is historically white, conservative and apolitical. In the realm of fine art, it is regularly labelled as the sell-out—seemingly lacking credibility because it is not about one’s own self-expression, but about weaponizing visual form for commercial gain. This presentation will draw from interviews with peers who share our dual histories of punk/hardcore asthetics and graphic design. Our goal is to open a dialogue about the connections and contradictions between these two practices and what we may be able to learn and unlearn as design educators from them. Additionally, we will consider more broadly how diverse or unexpected backgrounds and experiences enhance design practices.
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