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By Joyce Thomas, IDSA, and Megan Strickfaden jkthomas@illinois.edu n megan.strickfaden@ualberta.ca

REFLECTIONS ON LEARNING, DESIGNING AND TEACHING

T

hrough a series of questions posed to each other, Joyce Thomas and Megan Strickfaden explore topics in industrial design (ID) practice, including reflections on design education (past and present) and the role of technology in designing and teaching. The two met at a design conference

in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2009 where they connected over their interests in empathic design and designing for disability, and their experiences balancing design careers with family (they each have two children). Since then they have co-authored eight international publications, lectured and taught together, and continued their collaboration across the continent. As seasoned designers and educators, they provide insights into how ID practice and education are permanently conjoined. Joyce Thomas, IDSA, is an innovator and educator with a passion to empower people through good design. She has designed consumer products for Electrolux and through Joyce Thomas Designs that have been awarded 59 US and international patents. A graduate of RIT and UIUC, she is a clinical professor of ID at the University of Illinois, Urbana– Champaign where she teaches human-centered practices, entrepreneurship and innovation to industrial design, business, and engineering students and internationally through workshops and seminars. Megan Strickfaden is an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta (Canada) and an adjunct professor in the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Studies Research Centre at KU Leuven (Belgium). She has designed hundreds of products, has taught design foundations and history, material culture, research and design methods, and disability studies for 25 years and has completed over a dozen funded research projects. She received a BA in industrial design and anthropology (1987), MDes (2001), engineering diploma (2002) and PhD (2006).

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W W W. I D S A . O R G

MEGAN: Joyce launched her ID career in the mid ’70s when men were the primary ID practitioners and women’s liberation was in full swing. In retrospect, there were only a handful of women in ID at that time, and many of these women put their careers at the forefront of their lives. By contrast, Joyce managed both career and family, where she encountered and balanced traditional and nontraditional gender roles. When a student recently asked Joyce to describe her biggest accomplishment, she unhesitatingly responded that her greatest success is raising two daughters who are both accomplished in creative and business careers. JOYCE: Arriving on the ID scene approximately a decade after me, Megan had already lived in the US, Europe and Canada, when she found herself in Western Canada where (much like today) there was only batch manufacturing, a context that was not considered real ID practice. Megan worked as a design consultant on design-toproduction projects for restaurants, museums and more. Simultaneously, Megan taught part-time at a local college where she brought international knowledge of design and real-world design to students while her two small children often listened to design history lectures, playing quietly under a table in the lecture hall. Megan’s career took a turn

Profile for Industrial Designers Society of America

Innovation Spring 2016: Women in Design  

Guest Edited by Nancy Perkins, FIDSA, and Ti Chang, IDSA The Spring 2016 INNOVATION explores ID and the role women play in the profession....

Innovation Spring 2016: Women in Design  

Guest Edited by Nancy Perkins, FIDSA, and Ti Chang, IDSA The Spring 2016 INNOVATION explores ID and the role women play in the profession....

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