Skip to main content

Re-thinking student design projects for sustainable consumption.

Reynolds, T. and Jenkins, B., 2023. Re-thinking student design projects for sustainable consumption. In: 25th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, 7-8 September 2023, Elisava University School of Design and Engineering, Barcelona. (In Press)

Full text available as:

EPDE23 Full Paper 1131_FINAL.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


Official URL:


Sustainability has become a core constituent of most undergraduate Product Design courses. However, many students continue to struggle to put theory into practice when undertaking design projects, often due to their complex nature and conflicting priorities. Considerations regarding sustainability may be limited to the recyclability and reusability of parts and materials, along with attempts to reduce raw material and energy consumption. While their intentions may be admirable, they do little to address the problems associated with human behaviour that are largely responsible for creating most of the global pollution and waste. In recent years, level 5 students on the Product Design course at Bournemouth University have undertaken live projects in conjunction with the BroomeJenkins Product Design Consultancy. The design brief set by the industrial partner has required students to reappraise the nature of consumption, placing emphasis on alternative modes of acquisition within circular economies. The aim being to challenge students to identify opportunities to innovate beyond the traditional boundaries associated with design and manufacturing. One obstacle this presents is: how to tackle conventional modes of thinking that support economic and societal barriers to change? Something which requires students to reflect critically on their own paradigms and preconceptions. This paper discusses some of the difficulties encountered when attempting to encourage undergraduate design students to adopt more effective sustainable design practices. It discusses the experiences of those involved in the project and appraises its effectiveness as a means of embedding sustainability in student work more successfully.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Circular Economy; Sustainability; Student design projects
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:38480
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:17 May 2023 11:09
Last Modified:08 Sep 2023 01:08


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -