Designing Designeducation at Miami/Basel

Leading design teachers Ron Arad and Daniel Charny, who have taught at the Royal College of Art in London and Jurgen Bey, from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, winner of the BE OPEN Prize, came together today to discuss their approaches to education. The talk was moderated by former Professor of design and architecture schools in Berlin and Rotterdam, Lucas Verweij and hosted by BE OPEN as part of their collaboration with Design Miami/ Basel.

Verweij asked the panel to describe what they consider to be the perfect conditions for teaching. All agreed that the ‘studio culture’, ie the learning environment, is a key factor in the development of a student. Always controversial, Ron Arad said that his greatest task at the RCA was ‘unteaching’: “I said that I would be able to make perfectly employable people completely unemployable within two years,” he boasted. But his point was a serious one and picked up by the other candidates who agreed that the key is to empower students to follow their impulses and not to restrict creativity through prescriptive briefs: essentially, to BE OPEN to all the students’ ideas and to creative possibilities.
Daniel Charny said that it is essential to show design students that there are a number of ways of reaching their goals, raising their ambitions so that they keep pushing their ideas forward. Arad agreed and praised the BE OPEN Prize for supporting this way of thinking:”Rather than giving a lump of money to a student or institution, this prize will expose students to the ideas of inspirational experts, giving them the courage to be even more experimental.” Jurgen Bey added that whilst he was delighted that his school, the Sandberg Institute, had won the prize, he had also found it very interesting to see the many different approaches to education manifested in the schools’ presentations in the BE OPEN Installation.
BE OPEN Inside the Academy in Basel has been conceived to draw attention to the importance of education today in nurturing the designers who will shape our world tomorrow. The Talk was organized to accompany BE OPEN Installation and Prize that invited a selection of top European design schools to present innovative design projects by outstanding students currently or recently enrolled. The universities exhibiting at the BE OPEN booth at the Fair are: Le Cambre, Belgium; Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), Switzerland; Hochschule Basel, Switzerland; Konstfack, Stockholm, Sweden; Sandberg Institute Amsterdam, The Netherlands and The Glasgow School of Art, UK.
A jury of international design luminaries reviewed the projects of the BE OPEN Inside the Academy Installation. The jurors selected Sandberg Institute to receive the Prize, which grants the winning institution the opportunity to select and host a series of distinguished guest lecturers to further its curriculum development.