100 Years of Design Graduate Education

Mural of the University of Minnesota by Truman Artwork Company.

In September 2018 classmates, faculty, visiting scholars, and friends at the University of Minnesota celebrated 100 years of graduate design education. Events included a research symposium titled “Fashion and the Future of Design,” with a keynote, exhibition, tours and activities in McNeal Hall. There was also an opportunity for alumni to share design stories—including memories, research, career highlights, or ideas on the future of design—in lightning fast three-minute presentations.

This celebration encompassed graduate programs in design and its previous major names including Design, Housing, and Apparel; Home Economics, and the post-baccalaureate certificate in Housing Studies. Areas of emphasis included apparel studies, graphic design, housing studies, interior design, retail merchandising, textiles, and related tracks.

The symposium ran from September 27–28, 2018 with the Design Graduate Education celebrate on September 29. The accompanying exhibition ran from September 29, 2018–January 6, 2019. Learn more about the different components of the celebration below

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Fashion and the Future of Design Symposium

In the future, design will depend upon our conceptual framework of how broadly we think about design for not only apparel, but for graphics, interiors, and other consumer products. Fashion evolution and the shifting paradigms of local/global, luxury/sustainable, crafted/mass produced, and past/present, allow us to ponder what could happen in the next 100 years. Design in this symposium will be writ large to include design across products, disciplines, and cultures.

Design is influenced by its past. Design in the 19th and 20th centuries experienced an amazing transformation. In the 19th century, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement’s revival of hand-made techniques collided with the Industrial Revolution and mass production. In the 20th century manufacturing moved off shore; however, design, merchandising, and the attendant changes this created in user experience was addressed locally. Today the story of design quality as a function of design quantity is told repeatedly, e.g., in the democratization of fashion through technology and mass production. More is available at cheaper prices—are we reaching the goal of design available for all? If so, what does this do to the user experience and our need to include the user in the product life cycle?

In the 21st century, new technologies and the marketing of products online is flourishing and fashion includes lifestyle choices of housing, interiors, and leisure activities. The question of global and local design venues needs to be addressed. There is also a need to understand other cultures and traditions in our export of design. Fast and slow fashion coincide: interiors are redesigned with a start-over mentality for fashionable goods and services creating conflicts in people who may regret the action amid a simultaneous plea for sustainable use of resources plus environmental, social, and economic reform. The glut of fast fashion/products has brought about the concept that clothing and consumer products, so easily and cheaply mass produced in countries where labor is abundant, can be purchased to wear once or use briefly and then disposed of, or bundled and sent to a third world country for reuse. Reuse markets in the U.S.A. flourish. This means rethinking the designer and user in extending the life cycle of designed products—even past discard to reuse. The complexities of issues facing design in all areas of life in the future abound.

View Symposium Brochure

Looking Back, Looking Forward: 100 Years of Design Graduate Education Exhibition

This juried and invitational exhibition celebrated 100 years of the design graduate program and featured a wide range of work by alumni, graduate students, visiting scholars, and faculty. Presented in conjunction with the “Fashion and the Future of Design,” research symposium and 100 Years of Design Graduate Education celebration, related activities included alumni and faculty panels on the future of design, a keynote speaker, and tours and activities in McNeal Hall.

More about the Exhibition

List of Exhibition Contributors

Venue: Goldstein Museum of Design, Gallery 241 McNeal Hall, St. Paul campus
Exhibition: September 29, 2018–January 6, 2019
Opening: Friday, September 28, 6–8 PM

Celebration Volunteers

Exhibition Co-Chairs
Barbara Martinson (MA ‘87, PhD ’91), Director of Design Graduate Studies, Professor, Graphic Design
Kate Maple, Assistant Dean, Student Services

Symposium Co-Chairs
Joanne Eicher, Regents Professor Emerita
Marilyn DeLong, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Design

Elizabeth Bye (PhD ’90, DHA), Department Head, Design, Housing, and Apparel
Karen LaBat (BS ’74 Costume Design, MS ’80, PhD ’88 Home Ec), Retired Professor, Apparel Design
Hyunjoo Im, Professor, Retail Merchandising
Signe Betsinger (MA ’59, PhD ’70 Home Ec), Housing Studies
Gloria Williams (PhD ’75 Home Ec Ed), Retired, Design, Housing, and Apparel

Lori Mollberg, Director of Alumni Relations
Amelia Narigon, Senior Communications Consultant
Lin Nelson-Mayson, Director, Goldstein Museum of design
Kathy Guiney, DHA