A Preliminary Study of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Canadian Industrial and Graphic Design School Curricula

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Looker, Jed Travis




This preliminary study explores to what extent three- and four-year Canadian industrial and graphic design programs have included the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their curricula. Research was divided into two parts. The first was a review of online program descriptions, and the second a semi-structured interview of program coordinators. Findings show the SDGs are relatively unknown to Canadian industrial and graphic design programs, their institution, and professional community. However, coordinators discussed the role of design in overcoming sustainable development (SD) challenges, and our findings show most programs have already worked SD concepts into their curricula. Furthermore, student reaction to learning about SD was positive. What coordinators questioned was how the SDGs related to applied learning and aligned with faculty research. This study concludes proposing future research into the SDGs in relation to design school curricula and faculty research.

Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals; sustainable development; design curricula; professional design associations; Canadian context.


Design and Decorative Arts
Education - Curriculum and Instruction




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Design: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Industrial Design

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Theses and Dissertations

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