2020 Call for Papers & IDSA Education Symposium Theme: DESIGN EXCHANGE 

Design education often operates in the realm of the theoretical, where deadlines are self-imposed and outcomes are not always of practical consequence. Its goal is to acquire knowledge, skills, and habits of mind and to practice the application of these to solve meaningful problems via a deliberate iterative process. In design education, tools and methods are constantly evolving and being refined;  however, the bulk of these advances in knowledge seem to rarely reach the professional community. 

On the other hand,  design practice largely operates in the realm of the practical, with a fixed calendar and a strong focus on pragmatic considerations, including budgets and billable time. Designs are realized in the real world and go on to have long-term implications in the way we live, work, and play. Economic pressures ensure that there is increasingly less time for theoretical inquiry and applied research. 

As we enter into the fourth industrial revolution, the work of the designer is rapidly changing. How can practitioners and academic institutions better collaborate to ensure that the design community has a hand in shaping the fourth industrial revolution, rather than allowing it to shape us?  The coming economic, ecological, and social changes urgently necessitate a meaningful conversation between design educators and design practitioners.  

DESIGN EXCHANGE seeks to nurture this spirit of collaboration and invites participants to come together as a community and LISTEN with EMPATHY, as we propose innovative and meaningful changes in the ways we learn, teach, apply, adapt, and perceive across the academic-practice divide. Our shared goal is to EXCHANGE lessons learned, best practices, case studies, research, and future outlooks. 

Questions to be explored include: How do we learn and what do we want to learn? What should we teach and how should we teach it? How do we apply what we’ve learned and stay up–to–date? How do we practice and stay connected amidst tight deadlines and budgets?   

We encourage submissions from academia and practice, and from novice designers and experts alike.  


Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA
Education Director, IDSA Board of Directors
Associate Professor of Practice, The University of Texas at Austin


All papers on the topic of DESIGN EXCHANGE between the academic and professional communities are welcome. We are looking specifically for design relevant topics in the following areas:

  • Scholarly Research
  • Teaching Philosophy
  • Innovative Collaborations
  • Design and Technology
  • Impact Design
  • New Models of Pedagogy
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Design Curriculum
  • K-12 Design Education


  • Monday, March 2, 2020 - Submission portal opens for entries.
  • Monday, June 1 - Submission portal closes for entries.
  • Notification of Acceptance of Papers will begin Monday, June 29.


All submitted papers will be considered by a review board. Once a review of all submissions has been made, selected individuals will be contacted and provided with further instruction.

Please note:

  • All papers must be complete and be submitted through this online portal.
  • All papers must utilize this standardized template. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.