Critical teaching as mutual learning through collective social design: A two-week workshop for first-year students

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


How to sustainably implement Higher Education’s aim to teach for critical and societally relevant thinking and acting into its teaching formats? As part of a two-week intense workshop process developed at Roskilde University’s HumTek Bachelor Study Program for first-year students, the authors have been repeatedly offering a workshop series entitled “Designing for All”. Each of the semester workshops features a different stakeholder organization as collaboration partner, ranging from a variety of NGOs to municipalities. While the theoretical focus is always put on how social design can attain sustainable impact by including an increasing diversity of stakeholder perspectives, the concrete problem and thereby the collective design framework changes according to what the collaborators and students deem relevant. Furthermore, both problem and design framework remain open to further renegotiations, given that the students are to test and challenge their initial design ideas with other stakeholders.
This process-oriented collective teaching-designing framework, we argue, sustainably anchors critical thinking and acting in a hands-on educational setting. Teaching is – like social design – not understood as a unidirectional way of communicating solutions to complex societal problems. Instead, it is clarified and continuously discussed that purposeful teaching in the field of social design builds on and fosters mutual learning processes on problems and preliminary solutions. We thus suggest that teaching as well as design can only be rendered sustainable by critically reflecting on its epistemic possibilities and limitations across diverse stakeholder perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventCritical Edge Alliance Conference 2016: Innovative and Critical Approaches to Higher Education in the 21st Century - Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
Duration: 22 Jun 201624 Jun 2016 (Link to konference)


ConferenceCritical Edge Alliance Conference 2016
LocationRoskilde University
Internet address

Cite this