SEGD Riga Chapter / Design & Education
23/03/2023 an International online talk
Three international design education experts and designers talk and find answers on current challenges:
Is design education socially responsible and sustainable?
What is thinking and creating through material today?
Is ‘performative design’ devaluating design education and what is the future of professional design education?
What is the role of research and technologies in design education today and in the future?
The talk was organised and moderated by Aija Freimane, PhD.
Professional design education has developed since early 19th century along with the industrial revolution. We can trace design research back to the early 1960’s. In last decades designers have proposed that the world needs design as “design thinking” to solve local and global economic, social and ecological problems. Design has shifted from being merely artistic activity to being an activity that ‘makes everything possible’.
I last two decades design process as crafting and thinking trough the material in design education has been purposefully replaced by computers and software programs. Supportive tools as technologies have enriched and made design process not only effective, but also depreciated doing by hands as thinking and practices deeply rooted in every culture as an intangible cultural heritage.
Post-it design thinking approach has led to the mindset reflecting misconceptions about the world in which designers work and what designers do. We may see the promise to become a professional designer within a few week-long ‘quickie courses’ in design.
United Nations have stated that happiness is a fundamental human goal. I have defined that design is a method of identifying a real need and provides solutions of creating happy and satisfied societies. We as humans are longing for positive experience, wellbeing and peace, we need convenient, useful and durable products, safe, accessible, perceivable, intelligible and experienceable services.
04:12 Satu Miettinen, Professor at University of Lapland: How can we use a creative process to co-author with the natural environment, materials and its affordances?
22:19 Andris Teikmanis, PhD, Professor at the Art Academy of Latvia: As we approach the new age of AI-aided design, new ethical issues and dilemmas arise.
52:19 Robert Tully, Senior Lecturer in Design at Technological University Dublin School of Art and Design : Responsible innovation is an essential condition of the future.
SEGD Riga Chapter / Design & Research
08/12/2022 an International online talk
Seven international design industry experts, representatives of academia and practicing designers talk about the importance of design and research in highlighting social and systemic problems in various countries around the world. The talk was organised and moderated by Aija Freimane, PhD.
Neeta Verma Professor at the Notre Dame University Department of Art, Art History & Design, USA. “The memory project: reweaving threads of loss, love and hope” addresses the challenging and systemic problem of youth violence in a community in the United States.
Jing Zhou Interdisciplinary artist, designer, researcher, and professor at Monmouth University, USA. “From the Mothers' Movement to Cradlr: An Interaction Design for Refugee Children” - inspired by the Mothers’ Movement in China and European countries during World War II, this project goes beyond the realm of digital product design in an attempt to find a humanitarian solution to a complex social challenge.
Leah Cleary Recent Visual Communication graduate of TU Dublin’s School of Art and Design. A study “Time to Change Perceptions: A Multimodal Analysis of Female Domestic Abuse Campaigns in Ireland” aims to identify what the principles of visual communication design reveal about the portrayal of female domestic abuse in visual campaigns in Ireland over the last two decades.
Ana Tobin Recent graduate M.F.A. in Graphic Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art, USA. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at George Mason University. Her “Neuro Divergent” through experiential graphic design exhibition asks what does it feel like to have a learning disability or disorder?
Linda Spillane Neurodivergent thinker, designer and maker with a background in Interior Design and Furniture Design. “AFFORDANCE of text for the reader with ADHD. Case study of visual communication experiments” tells the story of a person born with ADHD who is born with an invisible disability.
Žanete Eglīte Doctoral student at the Latvian Academy of Culture with more than 18 years of experience in the advertising and design industries. “Sensorial inclusion” as sensory features of products and services affect emotions, memories, perception, choices, and consumption.
Sara Kristoffersson, PhD, Professor of Design History, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Sweden. In Design by IKEA (Bloomsbury 2014) she investigates how the world dominating brand IKEA has controversially come to define a nation. In her last book Hela havet stormar [Musical chairs, Volante 2022] Kristoffersson discuss how identity politics and cancel culture affect academic culture. It is based on a nationally well-known case at Konstfack in Sweden. “Musical chairs. Identity politics in practice and the dangers with norm criticism” - in February 2021 Kristoffersson published an article in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper about how identity politics affected Konstfack, as a result of which 44 colleagues signed a petition against her. This affair caused a huge debate in Swedish media. A year later she published the book Hela havet stormar [Musical chairs] about the debacle. In her talk she is going to highlight this case.
Aija Freimane, PhD, introduced the development of research-based design solutions in Latvia in 2008, which she practiced at the Art Academy of Latvia until 2020. Since 2021, Aija has been a lecturer and researcher at TU Dublin School of Art and Design. From 2017-2022, Aija conducted the only postdoctoral study in design in Latvia to date, "An identification system for design's socio-economic towards transformation to a knowledge-intensive economy in Latvia". Its results have proved to be internationally significant. In 2021, she was awarded the prestigious A'Design Award Meta Award in the Strategic and Service Design category.
“Design & Research” is organised by SEGD Riga Chapter in cooperation with design studio H2E, the State Culture capital foundation, the Swedish Institute in Stockholm and the Embassy of Sweden in Latvia and SEGD.
Are 'folk' or traditional culture objects meaningful to Generation Z
2022 Design History Society, "Folk Cultures" in Everyday Objects: Temporalities 1
‘Folk’ is a contested term, invoking resonances of tradition, rurality, informality. Its forms and connotations have often infused everyday objects with contested significance. References to particular forms and imaginings of folk culture vary from homage and emulation to unexpected juxtapositions, translations, misquotations and appropriations. Who had agency in the design and manufacture of these objects as well as those who circulated and mediated them to multiple audiences who consumed them inflects these objects with complex and contested power dynamics and impacts.
The seminar series ‘Folk’ Cultures in Everyday Objects explored how folk cultures inhabit the design and production of everyday objects, critically assessing how and why these intersections operate around the globe. Convened by Wiktoria Kijowska (DHS Ambassador) and Claire O’Mahony (Associate Professor in History of Art and Design; Course Director for the MSt in the History of Design, University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education).
"Folk Cultures" in Everyday Objects: Temporalities: session 1: 'Folk’ Cultures and Contemporary Practice:
Yissel Hernandez Romero - Design Ethics Towards Indigenous Craftsmanship
Andreu Balius and Ishan Khosla - Displaying Indian Folk Cultures through Type Design
Aija Freimane - Are ‘folk’ or traditional culture objects meaningful to Generation Z? (22:17 - 32:44)
Joyce Cheng - Hello Kitty as Industrialized Folk Art
Jixiang Yang - From Peasant Images to the Political Philosophy: ‘Chinese Dream’ Posters, 2012
Toward Decoding Design’s Value— Communicating and Visualizing Design Research
2021 SEGD Academic Summit; Philadelphia, USA
Abstract from 2021 SEGD Communication + Place
Designers say that ‘design adds value’, but no evidence-based indicators have shown design’s impacts on society. The findings discussed in this paper are from a global–local case study based on a qualitative and mixed-methods study. The results clarify the added value of design from the user’s perspective across five generations and four socio economic class groups by recommending perceived design value indicators that measure personal satisfaction, happiness and well-being as end results of product and service usage.
Read more in the 2021 SEGD Communication + Place journal and other papers at
The Art of Giving the Art
The Forum for Culture and Arts Professionals; Liepaja, Latvia, 2020
My 24 years of experience in creating and sharing an art, design and cultural experiences to children and young people without professional skills at the first forum for culture and art professionals "Culture tomorrow", 2020.
Responsibility. Design. Opportunities.
Vidzeme Innovation Week; Cesis, Latvia, 2020
I share my vision on the topic «Responsibility. Design. Opportunities» in our regional and global context at the Vidzeme Innovation conference, Cesis, 2020. I discuss how locally available resources can be used in design and hence be beneficiary to the world, both socially and economically.