Beyond Ethnic Footwear: Action Research Generating New Educational Insights on Design Processes

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Willems, Catherine; Van Gogh; Pinxten, Hendrik
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: School of Arts, Ghent, Belgium; 2: Artesis University College Antwerp, Belguim 3: Ghent University, Belgium
Section: Design Education in Practice
Page(s): 231-236
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


The paper explores the use of indigenous knowledge – in this case the knowledge on two types of ethnic footwear - in combination with a more abstract design model – “integration-ideation model” - to improve idea generation for design students. We report on fieldwork done in South India and in Northern Finland. After explaining the input – the abstract “i-ideation model” and the two concrete cases - we report on a practice-based exercise with students at the Fashion Department of the School of Arts in Ghent. Through the student exercise, we investigated the improvement of idea generation during the design process when using the input. The strength lies in combining the abstract model with the concrete cases in which the comparative aspect is of main importance. We demonstrate how a frame, we can best identify as a “Unity in Diversity Frame”, came into existence and how it can contribute to design education.

Keywords: Culture and knowledge, comparative design practice, design education, footwear, biomechanics


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