January 14

The day consists of a one hour keynote presentation followed by two concurrent sessions with 3 sessions to choose from in each time slot.


Each concurrent session consists of a half hour presentation with Q&A followed by a half hour for  discussion amongst conference delegates on challenges facing design educators.

  • Webinar – They Were There Too

    Date: Friday, January 29th at 1:00 PM ET

    They Were There Too


    Reorienting Approaches to Writing Design Histories, presented by Briar Levit

    In the brief period that graphic design history has been taken seriously, limited narratives have dominated. Today scholarship has grown considerably and it is from this continually expanding group of scholars that we will get the most complete, equitable and reflective understanding of our discipline. Briar focuses on why our history should be told by the many, rather than a few.

    Briar Levit headshot

    Briar Levit spent her early career in publishing.She was previously the Art Director of Bitch magazine and a book designer. More recently, her feature-length documentary, Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production (2017) established an obsession with design history—particularly aspects not in the canon. She is currently collaborating on The People’s Graphic Design Archive and editing a book of essays about unheard design histories of women. Levit is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University.


    Revealing Missing Design Stories, presented by Tasheka Arceneaux Sutton

    Little is known about Black people that made significant contributions to the history of graphic design. Although there are many untold stories, this talk will focus on the achievements and the lifelong work of Louise E. Jefferson, a Black woman calligrapher, graphic designer, illustrator and photographer.

    Tasheka Sutton headshot

    Tasheka Arceneaux Sutton is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Southeastern Louisiana University, Faculty in the MFA program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts and runs a design studio called Blacvoice. Tasheka received her MFA in Graphic Design from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in English from Loyola University New Orleans.


    Retooling Resources: Democratizing History Research, presented by Louise Sandhaus

    With few archives and researchers, much of graphic design history is disappearing and many stories are going untold. Thanks to a new crowd-sourced virtual archive, "the people" can decide what work should be preserved and collectively decide what should be part of our diverse history.

    Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and is Louise Sandhaus headshotfaculty at California Institute of the Arts. She is founder and co-director of The People’s Graphic Design Archive, a crowd-sourced virtual archive, author of Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design, 1936-1986 and co-author of A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, Designer. Louise is an AIGA LA Fellow and in 2017 received the Design Icon Award from Los Angeles Design Festival.

  • Concurrent Option 1 - Equity

    1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern Time

    Equity [within all spaces]


    Presentation: Strong Like Two People: Curriculum Development for Northern Creative Program on Tłı̨chǫ Lands

    Presented by Adolfo Ruiz, Assistant Professor at MacEwan University in Alberta, Canada

    The project developed through this research is based on the rich history of Dene storytelling and is intended to engage regional elders and youth in ongoing activities that combine traditional (oral) ways of sharing stories with visual communication design practice. This research also draws from the United Nations Creative Economy Report, 2013—which emphasizes how culture, creativity and innovation are vital in meeting challenges of sustainable development, while encouraging economic growth, and promoting social inclusion. In his work, Adolfo aimed to empower learners from a northern community through the development of culturally appropriate curriculum, embrace the land as classroom, expand the idea of design to include Indigenous knowledge, and finally, to explore ways of engaging participants from the Dene region, as well as educators from a southern university. Most importantly Adolfo worked to facilitate equity through the creation of an educational experience outside the urban environment. 



    • How does design education engage with society, with our student’s lives, with the industry at large?
    • What strategies can educators share on creating a culturally appropriate curriculum?
    • How can educators increasingly encourage and promote students to be culturally aware, engaged and active in their visual communication design practice?
  • Concurrent Option 2: Empower

    1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern Time

    Empower [the learners]


    Presentation: Design Feedback Sprint Sessions Produce ACE (Actively and Creatively Engaged) Students 

    Presented by Nicki Wragg, Associate Professor, Chair, Communication Design; Lauren Martyn, Lecturer, Swinburne Online; Judy Worthington, Lecturer, Swinburne Online at Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, Australia

    Design students must be empowered to become active learners – learning by example, embracing technology and building their resilience in a scaffolded ecosystem that focuses on learning outcomes. Critique sessions have traditionally been part of the design learning process, but their effectiveness has long been questioned, with some students misinterpreting lecturers’ feedback under the pressure of a critique, while others leave crushed by negative feedback. After our fully online Communication Design program commenced, we engaged in a reflective process to understand the serendipity of the studio and the positive aspects of design critique sessions. Reimagining the studio, we considered how to best embed constructive criticism in the curriculum. Through experimenting with various online platforms, we developed a collaborative system between peers and lecturers to shape projects as they progress, without the emotional bias associated with studio critiques and the term ‘criticism’. We report on the iterative development of design feedback sprints online, how they translated to on-campus delivery and how the method creates actively and creatively engaged students. We describe the major elements of the sessions in addition to reporting the impacts of feedback sprints on students’ development and how the method has benefited lecturers’ practice. Design feedback sprints are extending the boundaries of the traditional critique session, helping us to pursue continuous improvement with a strong focus on student-centred experience.



    • How do you empower students to become active learners? 
    • How do we train and create an ecosystem of resilience?
    • how can the design feedback sprint revolutionize the classroom? How and why does this method align with soft industry skills?
    • What tools and online platforms allow for the most effective collaborative feedback sessions and critiques?
  • Concurrent Option 3: Embrace

    1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern Time

    Embrace [the classroom]


    Presentation: Re-imagining Legacy Post-secondary Design Education in a “Teacherless” Society

    Presented by Andrew Hladkyj, Professor at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario

    Through a human-centred examination of today’s educational environment, this project derives 20 aspirational motivations at the heart of an independent learning model. It reframes the disconnect between design academia and industry using an ’80s computer game and a Greek myth as fresh paradigms to uncover the value of strategic partnership, addictive learning and platform-agnostic foundational training in preparing post-secondary design education for the future. Andrew offers 4 alternative worlds built around distinct sets of motivations and presents one in detail to illustrate a higher-value ecosystem of flexible locations, virtual spaces and re-defined roles to empower tomorrow’s independent learner. A high-level road map outlines a stakeholder consultation and implementation plan to make this re-imagined world a reality. With the ever-growing disruption of education by technology and the trend toward self-directed and autonomous learning, how might we re-imagine legacy post-secondary design education in a “teacherless” society? 



    • What does the future classroom look like? 
    • What are the methodologies, technology and/or practices we need to embrace to move forward?
    • As educators, how do we feel about the idea of a ‘teacherless’ society?
    • What does this mean for education? How will this change the culture of our schools in the future?
    • How can our system of education change to allow for more autonomous learning?
  • Concurrent Option 1: Empower

    2:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time

    Empower [the learners]


    Presentation: Graphic Design and Visual Communication can be a Powerful Tool

    Presented by Cat Normoyle, Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

    “Accountability for predicting outcomes for design action” is a major competency for the future of our discipline. Teaching design action and accountability to students means articulating the relevance and responsibilities that are tied to any power of persuasion when we design artifacts, systems, services, experiences and environments, for others across diverse societal contexts. Teaching designers to create responsibly means understanding audiences, considering and addressing the impacts that their work may have and reflecting on the outcomes of their work in broader contexts. Cat reviews a design methodology, based on research and design practice, called the ‘blended perspective’, that merges rigorous social impact assessment guidelines from the social sciences with a human-centred design approach to improve processes and outcomes for impact assessment in graphic design work. This methodology exposes students to methods for successfully designing for impact. Cat presents student case studies that show this model in action and how students learn to frame and implement graphic communication projects that advocate for change and have impact in their communities. 


    • How do you empower students to become active learners? 
    • How do we train and create an ecosystem of resilience?
    • As design artifacts become much more powerful in persuasion, how do we teach students to recognize responsibility and impact in their design process?
  • Concurrent Option 2: Engage

    2:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time

    Engage [with external participation]


    Presentation: Hegemony and Design Education

    Presented by Brian DeLevie, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver

    Historically, IHE’s and design programs have fulfilled and served complementary and contradictory roles. By striving to create missions and curriculums that embrace multicultural paradigms that promote inclusivity,, empathy, IHE’s have produced knowledgeable professionals that serve the economy and as social agents and activists. However, through restrictive entrance requirements and delivering hegemonic pedagogy and curriculum, IHEs and design programs have perpetuated “symbolic racism” that denies existing patterns of racial inequalities and sent implicit messages to minorities about what constitutes valid knowledge, and who are the dominant and subordinate classes. Brian asks: what role does personal, discipline, and institutional biases play in design curriculum decision making?; what can design programs do to actively and effectively challenge hegemonic structures to engage better and promote more equitable and diverse forms of education? and how can design programs create curriculum that recognizes, respects, and uses students’ identities and diverse backgrounds to encourage and support their pursuance and entrance into the design profession?



    • How does design education engage with society, with our student’s lives, with the industry at large?
    • How can we make small changes in curriculum to shed light on student identities and encourage pursuit of their autonomy through their learning experience?
    • How much of design curriculum should be personal, discipline-based or institutional?
  • Concurrent Option 3: Expand

    2:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time

    Expand [the experience]


    Presentation: Health + Design: Expanding the Undergraduate Curriculum to Embrace Real World Problems

    Presented by Gillian Harvey, Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada

     In this case study, students from an undergraduate design program are introduced to design research techniques in teams to gain an understanding of the visual landscape of health education. It considers the designer’s role and responsibility in creating persuasive messages and designed objects in different media that have the power to suggest a new approach to social design education in undergraduate curriculum. As a problem-based learning approach, design and medicine work well together. As Frascara (2017) notes, pedagogy in medicine has recently discovered the value of problem-based learning. Leading educational institutions have adopted it as a way to introduce students into the realities of human health. Design education has always been organized as problem-based learning, embedded in projects. Gillian shows how incorporating design thinking methods, such as visualizing, diagramming, systematic exploration and creating frameworks for understanding, can help designers interpret, understand and design the visual messages that they create. The call to action is for us (designers) to reconnect, preserve, value the ‘work of a conversation’ in how it shapes our lives.



    • How do we decide who and what to include in the experience of design education?
    • How can educators connect design curriculum to healthy education.
    • As we culturally become more aware of health importance, how can design thinking curriculum include this aspect?
    • How do we both teach and communicate the importance of design to address real world problems?