Title: Education to practice: the development of responsibility in product designers

Authors: Stacey Birkett, Peter Lloyd, Steve Garner

Addresses: School of Social Work, Psychology, and Public Health, University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK. ' The Design Group, Faculty of MCT, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. ' The Design Group, Faculty of MCT, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Abstract: The design professions today claim to take responsibility seriously, but the knowledge base for guiding responsible designing is erratic. Some definition of the topic has been provided through the interface between engineering and ethics, but the relationship between responsibility and product design has received less attention. This paper investigates design responsibility in design education and practice. It explores the way in which designers| perceptions mediate the interpretation and application of responsibility in their practice. The results show how concepts of responsibility change across levels of expertise, with the contexts of education and practice appearing to mould and influence designers| perceptions of responsibility. The paper presents three snapshots – of first year design students, graduating students and practising designers – to demonstrate how the development of responsibility evolves.

Keywords: product design; ethics; design education; design responsibility; responsible designing; designer perceptions.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2011.040590

Journal of Design Research, 2011 Vol.9 No.2, pp.131 - 145

Published online: 07 Jun 2011 *

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