Enhancing Material Experimentation In Design Education

Maarit Mäkelä, Teija Löytönen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Within art and design, education material experimentations are an integral part of learning processes. However, the attention to materiality in educational studies has been rather limited. In this study, we discuss materiality in design education and explore the relation of materiality to learning, that is, how learning is entangled with or an effect of the engagement with the material. We base our review on an MA course called Design Exploration and Experimentation (DEE) organised at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland. The paper is based on ethnographic notes and documentation gathered from the participating design students from the course during a five-year period of time, including courses from 2010 to 2014. By describing some critical elements, the paper sheds light on the role and relevance of materiality in learning within design education. Based on the study, we propose that physical environment and materiality have agency in learning processes and that together they create a performative learning space. In such a space, learning becomes a more unpredictable and experimental process, opening up new, emergent possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers
EditorsRobin Vande Zande, Erik Bohemia, Ingvild Digranes
Place of PublicationHelsinki
PublisherAalto University
ISBN (Print)978-952-60-0069-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Conference for Design Education Researchers - The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, United States
Duration: 28 Jun 201530 Jun 2015
Conference number: 3


ConferenceInternational Conference for Design Education Researchers
Abbreviated titleLearn X Design
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Design education,material experimentation, learning, curriculum


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