Designers of the Future

Worldwide Collaboration Connects Designers of the Future

A creative network of industry-leading designers, artists and educators will go back to the future as part of a worldwide design challenge hosted by the University of Lincoln, UK.

The Jobs in 2050 Design Learning Challenge will see luminaries of the design world from across the UK, the USA and China look ahead to 2050, and work together to tackle pressing issues around the education, employability and creativity of the next generation from multiple perspectives including art, design, the humanities, science, technology, engineering and maths.

Launched by Doris Wells-Papanek, Director of the Design Learning Network in the US, and David Bramston, Principal Lecturer Enterprise at the University of Lincoln’s School of Art and Design, the three-day event follows the success of the team’s inaugural trans-Atlantic collaboration in 2013.

In preparation for the Kansas City Design Week Jobs in 2050 Design Learning Challenge Workshop on 1 March 2014, a set of targeted collaborative challenges will take place from 11th – 13th February 2014, tasking participants to contemplate an increasingly entrepreneurial society and mastermind creative employment solutions for job-seekers of the future.

Doris Wells-Papanek said: “By 2050, students who graduate from high school in 2015 will be over 50 and babies born today will be in their 30’s. The university students and school pupils who engage in this challenge with our network of professional designers will therefore be addressing the learning needs of the next generation of creative problem solvers as well as their own.

The workshop programme will offer almost 500 students a unique opportunity to work with their international peers, sitting 5,000 miles away, in real-time through Skype. Design Learning Challenges, such as Jobs in 2050, have been pioneered to provide a valuable platform for the international creative community to share ideas and experiences, and contemplate design questions that have real potential to impact everyday lives.

David Bramston is the Programme Leader for the MA International Design Enterprise (MAIDE) at the University of Lincoln, an innovative programme that promotes the opportunities available to designers working on a global scale.

David said: “International communication is central to our MAIDE course here at Lincoln. Our postgraduate students are already participating in projects with design partners around the world; in Beijing, Philadelphia, Toronto, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The programme actively encourages students to engage with the international design community, creating new proposals for a wide range of clients, trade fairs and exhibitions.

We are delighted to once again be bringing the creative sector together with our second Design Learning Challenge. Here at Lincoln we share a vision with Doris; to create effective and sustainable links between designers and educational institutions on a global scale. We hope this project will encourage the community to embrace new forms of communication to help solve design challenges of the future.”

The UK Jobs 2050 Design Learning Challenge will take place from 10am–2pm on Tuesday 11th February, from 3pm–8pm on Wednesday 12th February, and from 10am-12pm on Thursday 13th February. The challenge will be hosted at the Lincoln School of Art and Design’s new £11 million building on the University’s Brayford Pool Campus, from which the design teams will connect with fellow practitioners in Kansas City, Missouri and Boston, Massachusetts in America, and cities including Nanjing, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai in China.

With this event, Doris and Dave aim to build on the success of the Chicago-Lincoln Design Learning Challenge, which took place in August 2013. The challenge connected 40 designers in Lincoln with 40 in Chicago, and was co-facilitated by experts from the Industrial Designers Society of America’s 2013 International Conference.

To view the short film featuring the event, visit:



For further information and to request interviews or imagery, or if you would like to attend the Design Learning Challenge, please contact Elizabeth Mitchell in the University of Lincoln Press Office on email: or tel: 01522 837650.