DesignerLearner, Acting on the Uncertainty

Format: Papers, RSD2, Topic: Learning & Education

Authors: Toni Kauppila

The complexity of contemporary world changes the paradigm of design conventions. To educate practitioners to act in such a world requires rethinking of our pedagogical being. This paper looks at the parallels of design processes, teaching of design and the becoming spaces of learning in the context of higher design education.‘How to develop contemporary design education?’ The design and architectural practices are in the state of disruption; the tasks we are facing now are more complex than ever. The challenges that we are confronting require a holistic understanding of things and are by their nature collaborative (Thackara, 2005). Thus this age of supercomplexity also challenges the higher education to seek for new approaches in teaching. Beyond merely training skills and knowledge, another set of dispositions is needed (Barnett 2004). The design practices are more and more system orientated and collective by their nature.The presented research is practice-based in twofold where pedagogical and design work merge. The author is engaged both in his own collaborative architectural work and teaching spatial design at the MA level. The architectural agenda is to recognise spaces as dynamic conditions for social interaction. The pedagogical framework in the concurrent courses strive for conditions of encountering; supporting risk-taking in tackling the wicked problems at systems level. The work is about these parallel activities, how the creative processes can be articulated cross discipline boundaries to challenge us in the seeking of the unknown both as creators and learners.
The research makes a hypothesis to elaborate the architectural design methods by adapting techniques from theatre and dance that have more integrated relationship between space, time and action. These various notational and descriptive tools of choreography and dramaturgy are explored as means of broadening the architect’s palette. The choreography operates as creator and organiser of movement of objects in space and time. Similarly in theatre actions and events are directed and orchestrated in a spatial context. Here the architecture’s role is paralleled as moderator for multidimensional spatial effects interacting with the human actions. Beyond the functionalistic tradition the research pursues the immediate and divers use of space by recognizing the uncertainty and the unexpected occupation.

The dialogue between higher education pedagogy and collaborative design work can both gain greatly while confronting the contemporary challenges. To appreciate design as a form of pedagogy and vice a versa to pursue the education as a creative process enables us to approach the new. The pedagogical space of uncertainty provokes the architectural space of becoming.

Citation Data

Author(s): OCTOBER 2013
Title: DesignerLearner, Acting on the Uncertainty
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 15 September 2013
Last update:
Publisher Identification:

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


Verified by MonsterInsights