THE BENEFITS OF GENDER EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN DESIGN EDUCATION
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Bjørnstad, Nina
Institution: The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norway
Section: Gender Effects in Design and Engineering Education
Cultural diversity amongst master students at Institute of Design at AHO has increased, which provides a multitude of methods and practices. Since different new design disciplines, as e.g. service design [SD], are becoming new branches at many industrial design [ID] departments, there seems to grow a complex academic environment. Why do we see even more gendered choices? The context of this paper is the student cohort at two master courses, in ID and SD respectively. These two specialties could potentially give an 'intersectional' sound mix of student's background, origin, culture and gender. Still we identify some tendencies towards gender segregation especially in the two disciplines. In short, SD takes the institutional holistic approach and the ID systematically technological approach; where male students dominate ID and female students dominate SD. Is it e.g. conventions in the society, faculty or the course briefs that most likely give these kinds of “female and male” courses? For an interdisciplinary understanding of diversity, Sterling  gives us three categories and cultivates some of their particularities. These three “general properties” that, in concert, underpin diversity are variety, balance and disparity. At a time when most design educations tend to continuously add new design disciplines, it seems timely to ask how this, seemingly flourishing landscape, could benefit designer's properties and plurality. In order to celebrate diversity, this article therefore explores different ways to cross-pollinate and build interdisciplinary teams.