Jinan 2021: Engaging with challenges in design education: 6 th International Conference for Design Education Researchers: DRS Learn X Design 2021
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10th Anniversary of the DRS Learn X Design Conference Series The year 2021 has been particularly special for the DRS Learn X Design (LxD 2021)1 organising teams. The conference series marked the 10th anniversary since the first event was held in Paris in 2011 (Bohemia et al., 2011)2 , see the reflection on page 50. Since then, the conferences have been organised biannually. The DRS/CUMULUS 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers was held in Oslo in 2013, on the theme of Design Learning for Tomorrow – Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD (Lloyd & Bohemia, 2013; Nielsen et al., 2015; Reitan et al., 2013)3 , see the reflection on page 45. The DRS/CUMULUS/Design-Ed Learn X Design 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers was held in Chicago in 2015, on the theme of Education and Design to Enlighten a Citizenry (VandeZande et al., 2015)4 , see the reflection on page 38. The DRS Learn X Design 4th International Conference for Design Education Researchers was held in London in 2017, on the theme of The Allure of the Digital and Beyond (Pritchard & Lambert, 2017)5 , see the reflection 35. The DRS Learn X Design 5th International Conference for Design Education Researchers was held in Ankara in 2019, on the theme of Insider Knowledge (Börekçi et al., 2019)6 , see the reflection on page 30. The theme for the 6th International Conference for Design Education Researchers hosted by the Shandon University of Art & Design was Engaging with Challenges in Design Education (Bohemia et al., 2021). The general 2021 conference theme reflected the unprecedented changes which took place in design education around the world since the first event was held in Paris a decade ago. For example, in China since 2016, more than 2000 of institutions have been delivering design programmes. Every year, also in China alone, more than 540 000 students enrol into Design programmes. And the number of students studying design and related majors in the Chinese schools now exceeds 2 million. The design discipline has become the most prominent one in more than 140 first-level disciplines and more than 90 undergraduate majors in China. China’s growth of design programmes and design student graduates at universities is shifting the very foundation of how design is taught (Pan, 2021). In additional, the Design is being taken up increasing by other disciplines (Bravo & Bohemia, 2021) and being incorporated into general education (Lutnæs, 2019) which requires us to reconceptualise the design education and its purposes (Bravo & Bohemia, 2020; Lloyd, 2011). This echoes advocation by scholars such as Anita Cross (1984), Buchanan (2000), and Nielsen and Brænne (2013) for design to become part of the general education. At the time when the general conference theme was proposed, Covid-19 which forced the most rapid and radical changes on design education, was not yet on horizon (see Figure 1). However, as the education has been rapidly transformed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the entire world, the general theme of the conference indivertibly became a fitting theme.