The­sis Abstract

Travelling to interview a Course Leader

How might the edu­ca­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion design stu­dents in the UK be fit for purpose?


With a focus on com­mu­ni­ca­tion design edu­ca­tion in the UK, this the­sis intends to answer the ques­tion of how and what can be done to bet­ter pre­pare stu­dents for pro­fes­sional prac­tice amidst par­a­digm shifts in gen­eral and higher edu­ca­tion. This research will be of inter­est pri­mar­ily to com­mu­ni­ca­tion design­ers in edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative indus­try pol­icy stake­hold­ers. I intend to pro­duce an orig­i­nal con­tri­bu­tion to knowl­edge for action whereby devel­op­ing practice-​relevant the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal knowl­edge can influ­ence these cur­rent par­a­digm shifts. I argue, through my hypoth­e­sis, that under­grad­u­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tion design courses can not be expected to meet the changes of pro­fes­sional design prac­tices to a rea­son­able thresh­old due to a fun­da­men­tal lack of under­stand­ing of what com­mu­ni­ca­tion design edu­ca­tion should be doing at pol­icy and indus­try lev­els. Under­pin­ning this hypoth­e­sis are 3 sup­po­si­tions: firstly, I argue that there should be a refresh­ment of how year 1 course mate­r­ial is deliv­ered to fit the trend in declin­ing apti­tude from stu­dents enter­ing Higher edu­ca­tion via A level Art and Design, and to an extend foun­da­tion courses; sec­ondly, that in order to pre­pare for emerg­ing trends in pro­fes­sional prac­tice, stu­dents should be grounded in the prin­ci­ples of graphic design gestalt, irre­spec­tive of influ­ences from tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments and the cur­rent mis­nomer of design think­ing. And finally, that there needs to be more tac­ti­cal part­ner­ships with indus­try. My lit­er­a­ture review reveals insights into these areas using a selec­tion of the­o­ret­i­cal, research, prac­tice and pol­icy texts. I have inter­viewed 3 under­grad­u­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tion design course lead­ers who rep­re­sent Higher Edu­ca­tion Insti­tu­tions with a gold award Teach­ing Excel­lence Frame­work rank­ing. I have used Grounded The­ory Method­ol­ogy based on Cathy Char­maz and Tony Bryant’s meth­ods, to code, memo, and ana­lyze the research find­ings to posi­tion my gen­er­al­iz­able the­o­ret­i­cal state­ments and con­tex­tual analy­sis. In con­clu­sion, this the­sis reflects on the research process and presents rec­om­men­da­tions for fur­ther action based on the claims to new knowl­edge gained into this subject.


Com­mu­ni­ca­tion design, edu­ca­tion, graphic design theory