Introducing Norm Creative Perspectives in Engineering and Design Educations


  • P.-O. Hedvall
  • P. Mattsson


Design justice, Norm critique, Norm creativity, Inclusion, Equality, Universal Design for Learning


The design of technologies, built environments, products, or services can result in inequalities, exclusion, and discrimination, possibly because designers–often unintentionally–reproduce social norms through their designs. This strongly relates to engineering and design educations, preparing future professionals and contributing to sustainable societies. The aim of this paper is to introduce and explore different ways to adopt such perspectives in education and training at the faculty of engineering at Lund University, LTH. Empirical materials were gathered through a literature review, discussions with critical friends and a teaching session about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Norm Creativity. Besides UDL, the Design Justice Framework was proposed to stimulate norm-critical thinking and thereby norm creativity in the design of new courses and as part of the education and training of future engineers and designers. The framework outlines three questions to be considered: Who participated in the design or development process?, Who benefited? and Who was harmed? As a result, we proposed teaching and learning activities, course module prototypes, on norm creative perspectives that could be adapted to different course contexts and situations. Based on this development, we discuss norm creative perspectives in relation to the benefits for students and educators, the complex social challenges in course design, and the wider ramifications of courses in engineering and design in terms of potential contributions towards the development of sustainable societies.