Design Education in Russia: The Experience of the Master of Design Course

By Nickolay Garin, Svetlana Usenyuk, Maria Panova and Denis Kukanov.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Russia is the largest Arctic polycultural country, i.e. the territory of environmental and cultural extremes. The issue of comfortable human existence may be solved by creating a ‘New culture’ as an aggregate of adaptive behavior patterns, which could be clearly expressed through the material environment.
The main prerequisite for all master’s degree projects is the possibility to change the direction of culture ‘making’: from artifacts to human internal fundamentals.
The conceptualization of the Master of Design teaching and learning process has resulted in a methodological sketch of the MD programme. It is based on “Three Pillars”: Art (as Creativity), Science and Technology. In terms of educational tasks they form a “Key-Questions Triad” as follows:
1) Key question: What?
The type of activity: Creation.
Key role: Artist.
2) Key question: Why?
Type of activity: Research.
Key role: Researcher (Scientist).
3) Key question: How?
Type of activity: Engineering.
Key role: Constructor.
The paper contains a description of the main six disciplines, which in the aggregate should meet the triad issues (open to discuss). Short list of demonstration of the first results is also included. Conclusions contain the indication of theoretical and practical value and prospects for further development.

Keywords: Regional Approach, Russian Arctic, ‘New’ Culture, What-Why-How, Master of Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.343-358. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.500MB).

Dr. Nickolay Garin

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

Nickolay Garin is founder and – to this day – Head of MD course at the Department of Industrial Design. He is the author of 4 fiction and 1 popular science books, over 50 articles in some professional journals and 2 documentary films about Russian North. In addition he has over 30 years of experience in design practice and consulting (his recent work was an exposition ‘Link of Times’ for the State Museum of Man and Nature in Khanty-Mansyisk city (2002-2007)). Nickolay Garin made over 30 research expeditions to Siberian Arctic Region (for the purpose to examine the material culture of native peoples). His research interests focus on design strategies, concepts, methods and tools for developing human-oriented systems of products (such as transport vehicles, dwellings, equipment, etc.) for extreme Northern environment. The overall vision is to develop the theory of Northern design which would be based on the eco-friendly principles borrowed from the northern indigenous culture.

Dr Svetlana Usenyuk

PhD Student, Department of Industrial Design, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

Svetlana Usenyuk is one of the first Masters of Design in Russia. Her Master’s Degree Thesis project was devoted to developing a design model of touristic transportation in Western-Siberian North (research supervisor was Nickolay Garin). After her graduate in 2007 she joined to the staff of Department of Industrial Design and now she is a part-time tutor of MD course and a PhD Research Student. While recognizing great cooperative potential of design profession, she decided to specialize in the theory of Russian (as Northern) design with its special approach to create space and things. Her research interests include design for extreme environment; circumpolar North; interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication; human movement and transportation systems. The research activity is resulted in some Russian and international publications and expeditions to the Western-Siberian North. In addition she was a member of design team working on the exposition ‘Link of Times’ for the State Museum of Man and Nature in Khanty-Mansyisk city.

Maria Panova

Phd Student, Department of Industrial Design, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

Maria Panova is one of the first Russian Masters of Design (graduated in 2007). The theme of her Master’s Degree thesis was ‘SYSTEMS APPROACH TO THE TOURIST OUTFIT DESIGN PROCESS’ (research supervisor was Nickolay Garin). Her research interest was focused on methodological aspects of that issue. Therefore, the topic of her current PhD research work is ‘METHODOLOGY OF THE URAL SCHOOL OF DESIGN’. Her research interests include: - To consider a regional (Northern) design school in the Global design-culture context. - To explore the issues of the self-determination of design school (ontological issues, synergetic approach). To consider phylogenetic and ontogenetic aspects of the design school development process. The primary goals of her study are to forecast the future methodology of the Ural School of Design. In addition she was a member of design team working on the exposition ‘Link of Times’ for the State Museum of Man and Nature in Khanty-Mansyisk city.

Denis Kukanov

Visiting Tutor, Department of Industrial Design, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

Designer (Member of Russian Union of Designers) and the author of a number design and archirectural Northern projects (the recent one was a Museum of Mammoth in Lugovskoe place near Khanty-Mansyisk), Denis Kukanov is now envolved into the educaional process at MD course. He is the Visiting Tutor consulting in practical apects of design process.


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