WDO Research and Education Forum

The Research and Education Forum was reinstated as a component of the World Design Assembly in 2019, regrouping more than 70 of World Design Organization’s Education Members from around the world. 

Held as a one-day event, the forum brought together designers, academics, students and design professionals to further enhance the future of design research and education through a series of thematic presentations, discussions, and networking sessions. 

The opportunity to present and exchange advances and trends in design education is of unparalleled value and allows for students and designers from the host city to participate and exchange with their peers from over 40 countries.

2023 Research and Education Forum Committee



Alpay Er
Professor, Dept. of Industrial Design
Ozyegin University

Thomas Garvey
Associate Professor
Carleton University School of Industrial Design

Martha Zarza
Head of the school of Architecture and Design
Autonomous University of the State of Mexico

Deepak John Mathew
Professor and Head, Department of Design
Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad


Design Research Institute
Chiba University

Tokyo (Japan)

Held on 10 October 2019 under the banner of Humanizing Design, the 2019 WDO Research and Education Forum aimed to share perspectives and explore trends to better prepare young design professionals for new challenges and opportunities.

Bringing together academics, students and industry leaders in Hyderabad (India), the event explored three themes relating to the intersection of design education and sustainability, emerging economies and digital media. Through a series of day-long activities, the forum fostered thought provoking dialogue around new education programmes, areas of research and practices that focus on more human-centered approaches to designing for a better world.

Papers & Posters

Theme 1: Integration of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGS) in International Design Curricula

The UN SDGs were set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030, as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. During the 30th World Design Assembly held in October 2017, WDO established the World Design Agenda to help achieve the UN SDGs, using design to bring new perspectives to some of the world’s complex problems. Together, with more than 100 delegates from over 40 member organizations from around the world, we have embraced the UN SDGs as a framework for action, but as we move forward we need to continually better define a range of relationships, conditions, and criteria that will help us measure progress and contribute to best practices.


  • Art-integrated learning and community design in rural communities in Kenya (Authors: Young Eun (Sarah) Sin, Linda Kemoli, Yohan Choi, Hyewon Lee)
  • Design + Change in Afrika: An integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a design curriculum (Authors: Ralitsa Diana Debrah, Kennedy Opoku-Asare, Mugendi K M’Rithaa)
  • Feminist pedagogy & design for social cause: Examining the designer’s agency (Author: Shemal Pandya)
  • Grounding SDGs in creative eco-systems: An organic model to integrate design narratives in everyday systemic actions (Author: Simona Maccagnani)
  • Stepping back to look ahead. Questioning the impact of design education in sustainable driven programmes (Authors: Riccardo Balbo, Elda Scaramella, Serena Selva)
  • Towards an ontological expansion of design: Thematic threads to to advance the next design education paradigm (Author: Saurabh Tewari)


Theme 2: Future of Design Education in Emerging Economies

The emergence of university level industrial design programmes outside of Europe and North America can be traced back to the early 1960s in India and Brazil. Since then, modern design education systems are widespread in all parts of the world. More recently, after two decades of intensified globalization, design has been accepted as part of the competitive capabilities of emerging economies. However, issues such as a lack of resources of all kinds, and the rapid expansion of design education programmes, acutely challenge the standards of international design education and the capability of design to meet the relevant local social and economic conditions.

Design research and education institutions in emerging countries are now at a critical junction to understand their own unique characteristics, as they identify new problems, opportunities and responsibilities, definitely in order to define themselves, but also in terms of their ability to redefine the global design education and research agenda.


  • A future scoped, trans-disciplinary design education for the emergent digital India: A constructive character-building paradigm (Author: Manisha Phadke)
  • Design education in India: The role of international collaborations for a globally aspiring mindset (Authors: Gauri Bhatt, Amit Kundal)
  • Design for development 2.0? Revisiting the Ahmedabad Declaration and discourse of design in India (Author: Saurabh Tewari)
  • Future of design education within the changing cultural-economy of India (Author: Rahul Bhattacharya)
  • Objects-based world & learner-centered education: The task of educating object designers of the future in countries with emerging economies (Author: Luis Felipe Moreno Leyva)


Theme 3: Human Approach to Digital Media

The industrial revolution has provided us with powerful tools, which forged the next revolution – the digital revolution. Digital technologies have radically transformed the way we live, learn, work and play. The traditional methods of education have been fundamentally altered by the ease of access and versatility of digital media. However, vouching for the progress of technology without understanding the human element acts as a barrier to learning. Design offers a wide range of tools and ways of thinking that can humanize digital media for education. Some of the challenges being faced by developing countries in the field of education range from easy access to knowledge, clarity in fundamental knowledge, reducing the academia-industry skill gap and learning how to solve real-world challenges through design and innovation. Design acts as an important way of thinking about complexity as the nature of these challenges is interdisciplinary.


  • Information arrangement in augmented reality walking navigation interface based on capacity theory of attention: To facilitate decision making (Authors: Chia-Chieh Lee, Fong-Gong Wu, Chien-Hsu Chen)
  • Photographs: A visual research method tool in design process (Authors: Ankana Sen, Deepak John Mathew)
  • Review of transformative technology and related pedagogy in school: Teaching learning practice to foster creativity (Authors: Sumana Som, Deepak John Mathew, Kim Vincs)


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