Bringing design justice to the classroom and workplace


Jimmy Day/MIT Media Lab

Jimmy Day/MIT Media Lab

By Becky Ham

Whether you’re building a home or programming a robot, design is a human-centered activity, making it essential to teach design in a way that focuses on equity, justice, and ethics.

That’s one of the messages that was shared at a workshop offered by members of MIT’s Design Justice Project at the International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC-CIE) held in Boston Aug. 20-23.

The workshop drew from recent publications by the project, including a look at how design justice is included in MIT syllabi in the journal Design Studies; a discussion on how the concept is featured in the engineering design academic literature in the Journal of Mechanical Design; and a review of ethics, equity, and justice in human-robot interactions published in the proceedings of the 2022 31st IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication.

The August event was a follow-up to a Design Justice Pedagogy Summit organized by Media Lab design researcher and postdoc Anastasia Ostrowski and mechanical engineering PhD students Madhurima Das and Jana Saadi in 2022.

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