Final degree shows: culmination or invitation?

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Final degree shows are often described as a ‘culmination’ – a climax or completion. Is the academy missing an opportunity with this perspective? This paper calls into question the role of final degree shows, exploring the potential for them to stimulate pedagogical and curricular development within a design programme or design school. There are increasing pressures on universities to engage in socially relevant research and nurture students able to respond to the grand challenges of the modern world. To ensure relevance, the academy must learn with the communities it serves. Whilst much research exists on different forms of collaboration with universities, this position paper responds to a gap in literature regarding the role of public exhibitions and proposes final degree shows as a space for new models of public discourse, providing opportunities for knowledge exchange and stimulating discussion with communities outside of academia in different contexts. Rather than being the end of a conversation, we propose that final degree shows become an invitation to begin. Using a single case study methodology we describe a snapshot safari activity, held during a final degree show, highlighting key outcomes, and exploring the insights revealed in terms of design teaching and curricula. The paper concludes by proposing models of micro-engagement within the context of a final degree show. We believe these could form the basis of further research in this area giving universities the opportunity to explore specific areas of interest through thematic curation of exhibitions with considered convening of people to discuss them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 123
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023): Responsible Innovation for Global Co-habitation
EditorsBuck Lyndon, Hilary Grierson, Erik Bohemia
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781912254194
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2023
Event25th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education : Responsible Innovation for Global Cohabitation - Elisava University, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 6 Sept 20238 Sept 2023
Conference number: 25

Publication series

PublisherThe Design Society


Conference25th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education
Abbreviated titleEPDE
Internet address

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