Design and Empathy in a 21st Century Education « Arts for all Queenslanders

Working with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s (CHSDM) education team has enabled me to research and engage with best practice design education. 

I believe that design thinking has the potential to teach 21st century skills and that empathy is a catalyst for quality design education. 

Recent professional reading has led me to the work of economist and cultural theorist Jeremy Rifkin.

  In light of recent economic disasters, Rifkin’s Empathic Civilisation (2010) proclaimed that ‘we are homo-empathicus’.  Researchers from the fields of cognitive neuroscience, child development and behavioural psychology, have found that mirror-neurons in the brains of humans and our fellow mammals are driven by empathic inclinations for collaborative learning.  This inspiring scientific knowledge has reaffirmed my belief that empathy is integral to the design process. 

Terry Deen