|The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).|
Integrating principles of sustainability into communication design pedagogy at selected HEIs in Cape Town : towards an industry-responsive curriculum
Yiannakaris, Laskarina Alice
MetadataShow full item record
This research study investigates the level of awareness of, and engagement with Design for Sustainability (DfS) among three categories of actors within the Cape Town communication design fraternity: design educators, design students and design professionals. It focuses specifically on the degree of application of DfS within three selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Cape Town, while also interrogating the local industry’s need for students who are knowledgeable and skilled in this subject. To successfully practice DfS, communication designers need to be responsive to the possible environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts of their work. This study argues for the early incorporation of principles of sustainability into communication design curricula in order to promote the uptake of DfS. An extensive review of literature facilitates the showcasing of practical examples of how communication designers can positively address sustainability through their design solutions. Further, it also unpacks the barriers and solutions to integrating DfS into both education and practice. The study employs a qualitative research approach. Using purposive sampling, rich data is gathered from the key informants through focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Activity Theory is used as an analytical lens through which to examine the dynamics between the three different actors who are involved in the activities of teaching, learning and practicing DfS in communication design. The findings identify major gaps in the teaching of DfS as the subject is typically considered to be applicable to environmental issues. There is also limited understanding of how to practically apply principles of sustainability. Along with proposing appropriate strategies and tools to enrich the education around DfS in a more holistic manner, the study highlights the need for proactive re-curriculation so as to effectively sensitise students to the responsibility of communication designers to tackle sustainability issues. A set of adaptable guidelines is proffered as a way of making DfS more accessible to students while training them to channel their unique skill set and enhance attributes of agility and resilience in preparation for professional practice and an ever changing world. Educators are seen as playing the most crucial role in effecting the proposed guidelines because they interface with both students and industry; as well as straddle the critical domains of research, pedagogy and professional praxis. Additionally, this study recommends establishing more robust, responsive and meaningful connections between academia and industry in order to develop contextually relevant industry standards that will promote and advance DfS best practice among the Cape Town communication design fraternity.