Mafalda Moreira

The emergence of an amplified practice of design: educating at postgraduate level

As a century of ‘Fluid Landscapes’, our time shows a scenario of growing complexity, rapid climate changes, wars, global financial and humanitarian crisis and disruptive demographic changes. It could be said that society responds to this scenario with signs of a growing social responsibility, environmental awareness and empathy impacting design practices and education. This also results in a need for change in Design Education models to become more flexible.

Literature shows a number of complementary visions on emergent design practices that can be interpreted as integrative and transformational, constituting signs of an amplified perspective, which this thesis seeks to evidence. Responding to these practices, a distinct approach to postgraduate design education can help in the preparation of future designers, to embrace ambiguity in processes and welcome complex and paradoxical realities in order to produce innovative solutions. Following a qualitative methodology that comprises case studies on two Masters programmes, and interviews to design educators, this research intends to build a rich in-depth investigation into the phenomenon of design education for emergent design practices. Results of this investigation intend to bring clarity to Design—a moving discipline, with fluid boundaries, characterised by the ‘intangible’. It is also intended to suggest an approach to postgraduate design education for this moving disciplinary scenario.


I am an enthusiast! Designer and educator. My professional experience is diverse, ranging from social media Beta-tester, avatar designer, start-ups manager, project management and event coordination for higher education institutions, Career and Personal Development Coach for Masters students and young entrepreneurs, Design Consultant, and for the last few years I’ve held lecturer roles in Design Higher Education.


Supervisors: Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Dr Emma Murphy.

Contact: [email protected]



Mafalda Moreira.