Teaching the slowness of cultural change in a fast-paced short semester

Changing cultural perceptions, biases and environments requires work on many levels, but also requires time.  Paradigm shifts and cultural change do not happen quickly.  Yet in education we are tasked with quickly moving students through 15-week (or less) semesters so they can hurry on to the next course.  In design education we are often hurrying students on to fast paced careers in industry.  In order to teach the next wave of creatives not only to be ethical designers who are culturally respectful as individuals, but also to lead the charge of changing the broader culture, we need to teach slowness.

Slowing down allows us to understand the complicated impacts of spilt second decisions so that we can redesign a better solution.  Slowing down allows us to understand community and those around us.  Slowing down allows us to question how we live, and how we want to live.  Mindfulness based practices is one way to slow down and reflect on these questions.

Integrating mindfulness into design education better prepares students to be more conscious designers in the future. We can not just simply teach young designers about culture, multiculturalism, cultural knowledge, and expect that they will be able to fully go out and design for cultural change.  In the designers tool box must be the ability to slow down, to mindfully reflect, and to do the hard work every day that will lead to cultural change over a much longer period that a short semester.

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