Convened by Amanda Breytenbach, Leora Farber and DEFSA

7 - 8 September, 2011 | FADA Auditorium, University of Johannesburg


This two-day conference was hosted collaboratively between the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), the Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) Research Centre, and the Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA). In 2011, DEFSA celebrated its 20th anniversary, which marked an important milestone in DEFSA’s reflection on design education from the past, present as well as visions for the future. The conference theme – 20/20 Design Vision ‒ offered participants the opportunity to focus on many interesting and engaging debates that ranged from an overview of the state of design education in the last 20 years to, more importantly, visions beyond the present. Over the past 20 years, the DEFSA conferences have provided attendees with the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge and ideas. DEFSA encourages cross- and multidisciplinary or peripheral design education debates presented by academics, researchers and practitioners that incorporate a wide spectrum of research methods and approaches associated with design teaching, learning and research.

A total of 25 papers were presented, addressing a range of topics pertinent to the conference theme. In their presentations, presenters aimed to stimulate new thinking, present insights and/or reflect on different perspectives and viewpoints, communicate innovative conceptual frameworks and propose alternative solutions or new opportunities for design education. In their papers, presenters either provided a critical analysis of detailed case-studies as lessons learnt, or explored and embraced the panoramic and peripheral aspects that contribute to discussions around the conference theme.

Keynote speakers were Janis Jefferies (Professor, Digital Media Dept. Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr Bernadette Blair (Kingston University) and Mel Hagen (past-President of DEFSA).


  1. Reflective vision ‒ “h is 20/20” (Billy Wilder).

–       Undergraduate teaching and learning practices.

–       Engaging with the design profession/industry.

–       Design research projects or focus areas.

2. Three dimensional vision: exploring the multi-dimensional design education landscape

–       Design and identity.

–       Design and culture.

–       Design and the human body.

–       Cross- and multidisciplinary design collaborations.

–       Interdisciplinary research and research focus areas.

3. Peripheral vision: exploring the outer boundaries that inform/overlap with design education

–       National and international collaborations.

–       Cross- and/or multidisciplinary collaboration with other disciplines.

–       Synergies with peripheral disciplines or activities.

4. Future vision: future projections and strategies for design education

 –       New approaches/perspectives for design education teaching and learning.

–       Research methods and methodology for design education research.

–       Evolving or emerging design education disciplines.

–       New design education paradigms.


Click here to download the programme