Educating the mindful design practitioner
Mindfulness applications are increasing exponentially across many disciplines. However, mindfulness theory and practice within design pedagogy is relatively scarce. What are the operational concepts and applications of mindfulness for acquiring design skills and ethical awareness? We explore these questions through a theoretical framework and two university-based studies where design students engaged in various mindfulness activities. Results show that meditation practices (formal mindfulness) and adopting a mindful approach to design tasks (informal mindfulness) can facilitate exploratory and creative thinking, increase sensory and spatial awareness, ‘free up’ one’s inner critic, and expand students’ empathetic horizons. These outcomes suggest mindfulness training is fruitful for the holistic development of students, supporting them to be truly reflective practitioners who creatively attend to the wellbeing of others and themselves.