2023 IDSA Education Symposium: The Watering Hole

Abstract submissions for 2023 have concluded. 

Call for proposals to the 2023 IDSA Education Symposium, a trans-disciplinary design research and education event focused on the advancement of design. Our theme this year is ‘The Watering Hole’ a gathering place for our community to reflect on the current state of design and to engage in collective dialog to shape the future of design. The idea of design frequently ignites a heated debate: while the methods, knowledge, application, and adoption of design continues to expand, fundamental questions about the nature of design still remain, and the legitimacy of the field and our professional identity are continuously called into question.

What are the most pressing issues in design today? What topics have been overlooked? What principles, practices, or theory distinguishes design from other academic fields? Let’s talk about it!

Whether you’re studying the nature of design theory and paradigms, advancing educational curricula, or contributing innovative design solutions through professional practice, we want to hear from you.

We invite all those interested in design (the study, the practice, the discipline) to submit proposals for leading this important conversation. Well executed research is welcome and encouraged, but we’re also interested in nascent ideas – works in progress that can benefit from real-time discussion, interactive experiences, or hands-on research. Several submission categories are outlined below, but all proposals that provide thought-provoking design relevant experiences will be considered.



Areas of Interest

  • Innovations in Design Education 
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 
  • Climate Action & Disaster Response 
  • Healthcare & Wellness 
  • Future of Mobility 
  • Emergent Technologies 
  • Collaboration 

Key Dates & Deadlines 

  • December 7, 2022 - Call for abstracts opens.  Completed
  • January 25, 2023 - Submission portal closes abstracts.  Completed
  • Notification of abstract acceptance will begin in February 2023.  Completed
  • April 12, 2023 - Full paper and activity submissions are due for review.
  • Notification of acceptance will begin in May 2023.
  • June 22, 2023 - Final versions of papers and activity materials due.

Paper Submission Details 

If your abstract proposal is accepted, full submisions for further review must be submitted by April 12, 2023. There are three submission types. The committee will review the final paper submissions to determine if they will be accepted. The committe reserves the right to curate different modes of share back for each of the accepted submissions. Paper acceptance guarantees publication, but does not guarantee presentation at the Education Symposium. Format of presentation is up to the committee. 

Full papers are required to follow the WRITTEN PAPER TEMPLATE or VISUAL PAPER TEMPLATE. Workshop submissions must follow the WORKSHOP TEMPLATE.

Submission Types

Paper Types

Paper Presentation: Papers may be presented from the Education Symposium stage in a traditional speaker/audience format. Full papers are required to follow the WRITTEN PAPER TEMPLATE or VISUAL PAPER TEMPLATE.

Paper Interactive Discussion: Select an interactive or collaborative style presentation for your paper. Full papers are required to follow the WRITTEN PAPER TEMPLATE or VISUAL PAPER TEMPLATE.

  • World Cafe: Share your work in an interactive way where your audience rotates tables every 20 minutes. The idea here is that you will get the opportunity to talk to multiple groups of people within the World Cafe session and gain the most feedback possible! Think focus group discussions in quick succession for developing your research further, or for discovering a new avenue to explore.
  • Panel: Share the stage with other delegates to discuss your work and how it intersects with that of other panel members.

Workshop: Interactive workshops, lessons, or collaborative experiences encourage real-time engagement, learning, or problem-solving experiences that strongly benefit from being together in the same space, at the same time. This year we're particularly interested in workshops that engage with local culture, community, and social contexts. 

A one-page paper will be required if your abstract is accepted. Workshop submissions must follow the WORKSHOP TEMPLATE.

*Full workshop submissions will go through another round of evaluation.

  • Academic Research: These contributions follow a systematic investigative approach to a question, problem, or situation. Scholarly research builds on or addresses an existing body of knowledge, and contributes new ideas, theories, principles, or practices to the field of design. The study should identify clear research goals, address relevant design questions, and conform to standard research methodologies and practices. 
  • Case Study: These contributions are research investigations into one topic area, such as describing a process or project, with a thorough and tangible discussion of practical outcomes. Examples might be curriculum investigations, course projects, technologies, or industry product developments. They should demonstrate new ideas in industrial design pedagogy or practice. 
  • Design Letter: Design letters provide an informal platform for sharing your ideas, opinions, and perspectives regarding a broad range of topics in design education and practice. We’re interested in diverse voices, new ideas, and unexpected opinions from your collective past, present, and future. Design letters should challenge design standards, norms, principles, or expectations in a thoughtful and meaningful way. This year we are especially encouraging stories about your past to fill in historical gaps in industrial design. 
  • Student Research  (Ph.D./Masters/Undergraduate): These contributions address research or projects conducted by students whose unique perspective enlivens, illuminates, and contributes to the body of industrial design knowledge. 

Completeness Classification

  • Work in Progress (WIP): New for this year, we encourage authors to submit shorter papers to solicit feedback from the community. This can be a paper based on preliminary or pilot data, theories that are under construction, or pedagogical approaches that you are almost ready to test out.
  • Completed Work: The paper presents research that has concluded.


Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA
Education Director, IDSA Board of Directors
Assistant Professor of Industrial Design, Iowa State University

Education Symposium Committee

  • Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, Iowa State University, Industrial Design
  • Carly Hagins, IDSA, Western Michigan University, Product Design and Innovation
  • Louise Manfredi PhD, IDSA, Syracuse University, Industrial and Interaction Design
  • James Rudolph, IDSA, University of Notre Dame, Industrial Design
  • Owen Foster, IDSA, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Honors College
  • Kohar Scott, IDSA, San Jose State University, Industrial Design