International Journal of Art & Design Education vol:29 issue:2 pages:121-133
This paper seeks to unravel what is hypothesized here as being at the root of design education: the cultural capital of design educators. The premise here is that capital is developed within the design studio, that is, designers-to-be and educators-to-be are encultured into design while studying/teaching design. This can be paralleled with the notion that parents enculture children into families and families/friends enculture young people into society. This paper begins by defining and introducing the concept of cultural capital, a body of knowledge that acts as an asset in particular situations; our study focuses on knowledge that is useful to being a designer/design educator. We continue by exploring what kinds of capital designers have and what role this capital plays in the educational scenario. Four key themes are identified as relating to the cultural capital of nineteen design educators from different geographical locations in the western world. These themes result from analysing educators’ intimate narratives, which reveal some of the values, beliefs and actions inherent to design. Furthermore, the themes illustrate a sampling of the design educators’ thesaurus, i.e. what design educators draw upon for teaching and designing.