Design Matters: Learning about the values and impact of design

Design aims to improve life, making it more beautiful, more functional and appropriate to its purpose. Nordic functionalism and the principles of democratic design are still relevant today. They are composed of sustainable design on a human basis taking into account not only the aesthetic dimension but also the environmental, social and the functional aspects.

Design Museum is an internationally recognized national specialist museum in Finland. The Design Museum researches, collects, stores and documents design, and displays it both in Finland and in touring exhibitions abroad. Education is one of the central pillars of the Design Museum’s mission and promoting design education is one of the museum’s strategic goals. Design education can be seen as a catalyst for change – it challenges attitudes towards the designed environment and shows the significance and possibilities of design. As a museum we have the power to share knowledge, spark imagination and even to bring about change.

In her talk she shared insights on their practices including cases of both design education for schools and the Design Club. In Finland, the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) was introduced in August 2016. Its concept of “phenomenon-based” teaching basing on inter-disciplinary processes offers a great possibility for design education. Design Kiddie Academy, where designers teach school children, will publish guidebooks for teachers to teach about various aspects of design. In-depth projects using participatory practices is a great method of design education.

Further, we are setting our sights on businesses and inviting companies to join Design Club hosted by the museum and Aalto University. This is a creative community involving various players in the field of design to discuss the possibilities of design. It is a way of strengthening the connection between the designer community, businesses and other central actors in the field.

With these actions we want to increase design literacy and awareness of the possibilities of design.

Hanna Kapanen

Kapanen is a Educational Curator at the Design Museum Helsinki. Her specific area of responsibility is co-operation with schools, but she also participates in audience development. Her passion is planning educational content related to the exhibitions and collections. Kapanen also runs the Studio, an educational lab, and creates and prepares learning programmes for a network called Design Club, which is a creative business community involving various players in the field of design. She holds a Master of Arts from University of the Arts Helsinki and has carried out pedagogical studies at Aalto University.