Mafalda Moreira MSc Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship; Degree Interior Design

Job Title:

PhD Research Student


School of Design



Mapping the new
work by Mafalda Moreira

Mapping the new


Mafalda Moreira

Distinct approaches to postgraduate design education - preparing future designers for an amplified practice of design

Supervisors: Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Doctor Emma Murphy

As an in-between professional in the areas of design innovation/creative thinking/student coaching, I am interested in the ‘shape’ of the future of Design education and Design practices.

As a century of ‘Fluid Landscapes’ in Alain Touraine’s words, our time shows a scenario of growing complexity, rapid climate changes, wars, global financial crisis and disruptive demographic changes. These factors along with smarter systems, a new media ecology, new production forms and value creation are changing the way we socialise, interact and work. It can be said that society responds to this scenario with signs of a growing social responsibility, environmental awareness and empathy, impacting design practices and education.

Literature on emergent design practices shows signs of an amplified perspective that demands to be evidenced and further explored. And responding to above world scenario and changes in design practices, a distinct approach to postgraduate design education can help in the preparation of the future workforce to embrace ambiguity in processes and welcome complex and paradoxical realities in order to produce innovative design solutions.

Through the lens of an integral perspective, that welcomes complementary and paradoxical realities, I intend to analyse this scenario and build a rich in-depth investigation into emergent design practices, to inform the creation of work packages to be piloted in design education contexts.

Due to the multidisciplinarity, organic and fluid characteristics of this research, interpretative maps will be created during the research process as a tool for reflection, synthesis and communication.

Of particular relevance for design educators this research aims to identify distinct approaches to postgraduate Design Education, which help prepare future designers for an amplified practice. By consequence, students will be better prepared for a leading-edge practice of design.

Awards: PhD studentship awarded by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (QREN, POPH e Fundo Social Europeu), Portuguese Ministry for Education and Science.