ERASMUS+ BIP Project for the Academic Year 2023/2024
- “Gabriele D’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy (UNICH, Academic, Project Lead)
- Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Slovakia (STU, Academic, Project Partner)
- University of Minho, Portugal (UMINHO, Academic, Project Partner)
- University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany (HTW, Academic, Project Partner)
- Idea & Sviluppo s.r.l., Italy (COESUM, Business partner for technical support)
The UNICH proposes to implement and host the Erasmus+ BIP project entitled “InDeSIS – Innovative Product Design for Social Inclusion and Sustainability” in cooperation with STU, UMINHO, and HTW, which are subscribers of Erasmus+ programme. COESUM, an Italian company working in the rapid prototyping sector is involved as a technical consultant. The InDeSIS project is designed for students enrolled at these learning institutions (LIs) and aims to deliver high-quality training on emerging design aspects that are considered as relevant today, such as Design for Inclusion (DfSI) and Design for Sustainability (DfS). Each LI will participate with 8 (32 students total), and the teaching activities will be delivered between March and July 2024. English is the official language used for both online and studio activities.
The strategic topic proposed for the InDeSIS project is consistent with the recent trends of Design studies focused on societal and environmental issues and aims to produce new professional and cultural skills into UG and/or PG learners. In the InDeSIS project, students will be asked to work in groups on the design of an intelligent artefact (an inclusive product that is connected to a sustainable services) that shows higher quality in terms of design (e.g., HCD), digital modeling, and manufacturing. Preliminary research stages will serve as the basis for empathic momentums to develop a wide range of solutions that will be both sustainable and socially inclusive. Innovative products for health, creative solutions for emerging and developing countries, enabling artefacts to contrast poverty and/or revert unsustainable behaviors, artefacts for contemporary inclusive lifestyles, etc. are only some of the possible topics and outcomes that students can chose for their projects. 3D Printing is the main manufacturing process through which students are asked to realize their projects.
In terms of teaching and learning practice (T&L), students will form eight working groups of learners, with at least a representative from each LI involved. A two-stage teaching pathway (online teaching in Stage 1 and studio teaching in Stage 2) will enable students to get information and awareness on themed contents as well as to work in group in a democratic way. They will be asked to identify a suitable market niche on which to concentrate their design efforts. The InDeSIS project will also promote the “students as knowledge producers” philosophy, which means that learners are in charge to autonomously lead, propose, coordinate, and develop their studio activities based on peer-to-peer democratic activities.
In terms of pedagogical approach, the InDeSIS project is based on authentic learning and will provide pupils opportunities to improve learning curves and technical skills, alongside to reinforce engagement and awareness to work as designers with future markets. Accordingly, better pedagogical impacts originated from the combination of blended teaching and studio design activities are expected. At the end of the InDeSIS project, students will be able to produce evidence of both digital and critical skills in the fields of DfSI and DfS, as well as improved communication skills that will be assessed thorough a public presentation of their projects. A better empathy on socio-environmental issues, inclusivity, independent thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration with international peers will provide evidence to show progressions of the activities to be implemented via studio sessions hosted at UNICH in Italy.
3. InDeSIS: Innovative Product Design for Social Inclusion and Sustainability
Contemporary product design practice is evolving and requires designers to adopt a new design-oriented attitude to properly work with global markets, which are raising the attention toward the creation of enabling solutions that are both socially inclusive and sustainable. Accordingly, HEIs are asked to rethink the curricular activities to provide UG and PG students enrolled in Design programmes the opportunity to get novel cultural notions and methodological frameworks, as well as design skills and project management competencies to properly face such emerging instances in a creative way.
The idea that drives the InDeSIS project is to provide students initial narrowed contents on DfSI and DfS to be applied to the Product Design domain, and its wider context, so that they can familiarize and get confidence with ready-to-market skills useful to enrich their curricula. Although the disciplinary area chosen for this project is Product Design, students will be guided into the design practice via a system-led angle that provides initial conceptual references useful to work with Product-Service Systems (PSSs): tangible artefacts connected to enabling services. Advanced information about digital modeling, sketching and technical representation, as well as advanced manufacturing, 3D printing and design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA), will be provided to enable students to be confident with the entire lifecycle of new product development for original and creative solutions, which ultimately will be both socially inclusive and sustainable.
Consistent with the aim and the structure of the InDeSIS project – as promoted by Erasmus+ framework for BIP proposals – students from participating LIs will have 60 hours teaching offer comprising both cultural and technical activities as well as online and studio teaching. Online teaching delivered in Stage 1 in the form of lectures, seminars, and case study analysis will be used to produce a baseline of information useful for in-person studio activities at UNICH (Stage 2). Individual and group tutorials are also provided in the form of online seminars to students needing help in the Stage 1. Furthermore, the online teaching in Stage 1 – 27 hours – is organized as follow:
- ‘Cultural teaching on Design’ will guide students into (inter-)disciplinary frameworks and contents on DfSI and DfS as well as HCD and UX methodologies.
- ‘Technical teaching on Design’ will allow students to get initial knowledge useful to manage and perform the new product development lifecycle in an efficient way.
Stage 2 comprises a one-week studio activity at UNICH – 33 hours – where students, working in international groups, will be asked to develop an original solution that is consistent with the main aim of the InDeSIS project. Interpretations and creative developments are also promoted to enrich the student T&L experience as well as the “students as knowledge producers” pedagogical philosophy.
At the end of the InDeSIS project students will be able to manage and apply a new set of methodological information and technical skills useful to work with the two pre-identified design fields – DfSI and DfS – and to use both research, design, and manufacturing skills creatively.
A certificate of attendance and, when possible, teaching credits, will be granted only to students who will attend the entire teaching programme.
- An itinerant digital and physical exhibition of the InDeSIS project, to be simultaneously held at UNICH, STU, UMINHO, and HTW, which will document the main outcomes of the project.
- A multilanguage video documenting the InDeSIS project activities, both online (Stage 1) and at UNICH (Stage 2), with participant interviews, for online promotion and outreach.
- An open access publication containing the cultural, scientific, and design results of the InDeSIS project. Other outputs can be produced after the completion of the project.