Lecturer Positions at SUN

The Visual Communication Design division at the Department of Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University is looking for candidates for the following two positions: Lecturer in...

Design Thinking to foster inclusion

In her keynote speech at the Global Design Thinking Conference 2020, Jeanne Liedtka, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business,...

6 Common Flaws To Look Out For in Peer Review

It’s not always easy to spot flaws in research papers. Sometimes an error is glaringly obvious - like a vague abstract with no aim and little data - and other times it’s like...

The 2021 conference will be a virtual event, and we invite international Design Educators to join us!

2019 DEFSA Conference

Designed Futures

Design educators interrogating the future of design knowledge, research and education.

ISBN 978-1-990930-81-2 

The 8th International DEFSA Conference was hosted by the IIE Vega School and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology from the 9-10 September 2019 on the Vega campus in Cape Town South Africa. The broad theme of the conference addressed DESIGNED FUTURES: Design educators interrogating the future of design knowledge, research and education.

2017 DEFSA Conference


The 14th National DEFSA Conference was hosted by Tshwane University of Technology and Inscape Education Group at Freedom Park Pretoria from 27 to 29 September 2017. The theme of the conference #Decolonise! Design educators reflecting on the call for the decolonisation of education, challenged design academics and postgraduate students to scrutinise their educational practice in relation to calls for the decolonisation of higher education.

The initial call for abstracts published on the DEFSA web site and circulated to member institutions resulted in the submission of 64 abstracts of which 40 were accepted. Over the two days of the conference 38 presenters representing 11 institutions presented papers. The final day of the conference was dedicated to a workshop addressing practice-based research. Over the three days 95 delegates and presenters attended the conference and workshop.

2015 DEFSA Conference

Ethics & Accountability in Design: do they matter?

The 7th International DEFSA Conference was held in September 2015 and was hosted jointly by Midrand Graduate Institute &  Vaal University of Technology

The aim of the DEFSA 2015 conference was to honour and grow an emerging principle-driven, civic minded and human-centred design culture that takes issues of the sustainability, credibility, corporate social responsibility, professional accountability and personal integrity to heart. The typical worldview rhetoric of what should be done is redirected towards individuated responses and actions that foster meaningful change.

2013 DEFSA Conference

Design Cultures: Encultured Design

The 12th National DEFSA Conference took place in September 2013 and was hosted by Vaal University of Technology. 

“Design cultures” refers both to the communities of design, but also to the way in which design shapes community – “to design communities”. The designer shapes and is shaped by the communities in which the designer operates. A culture can be defined as any community where members share values, practices, processes and products.

2011 DEFSA Conference

20/20 Design Vision

The 11th National DEFSA Conference (and the 6th International DEFSA conference) was appropriately titled 20/20 Design Vision. A total of 23 papers were presented over a two-day period, addressing a range of topics that were pertinent to the conference theme. Of these papers 22 papers were accepted for publication in the conference proceedings.

In 2011, the Forum celebrated its 20th anniversary and in so doing, marked an important milestone in its reflection on design education from the past, present as well as visions for the future. The conference theme offered participants the opportunity to focus on many interesting topics that ranged from an overview of the state of design education in the last 20 years to more importantly offering future visions beyond the present.

2009 DEFSA Conference

Opening gates, between and beyond design disciplines

The 12th National DEFSA conference was hosted by the Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) and co-hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

The event was held in collaboration with the 2009 International Mohair Summit. DEFSA encouraged speakers to investigate and debate the manner in which boundaries between design industry, government, community and design disciplines could be addressed within the conference theme.

2007 DEFSA Conference

FLUX: Design Education in a Changing World

DEFSA's 5th International Conference in 2007 was held in Cape Town, South Africa between the 3rd and 5th of October 2007 and was endorsed by Icograda. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology hosted this year's conference. 

The purpose of the conference was to bring together theorists, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of design and design education to share ideas and experiences for the benefit of design education in the international context of the knowledge economy. Given the position of South Africa, the host country, in the developing world, a particular sub-theme was Design for/and Development.

2006 DEFSA Conference

Redesigning Design Education

The 8th National DEFSA Conference considered academic papers with regard to restructuring and rethinking the design education landscape, and revisiting the educational responsibility of design education

The Conference took place in September 2006, and was hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth

2005 DEFSA Conference

Design Education in a creative economy

The 7th National DEFSA Conference took place in September 2005 at the South African Reserve Bank Conference Centre, Pretoria.

The line-up of speakers represented education, business and government sectors. The Reserve Bank served as an apt backdrop against which the theme of the conference, Design Education in a Creative Economy, played itself out.

Over the course of the conference three themes clearly emerged across the various presentations. The first revolves around design innovation as an important factor in economic development, the second emphasises design as a cognitive activity and the importance of acknowledging design as an academic subject, and the third indicates the powerful collaborations that are possible between design education and business.

2004 DEFSA Conference

Design, Research and Development

The 6th National Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) 2004 conference was hosted by the Design Institute of South Africa, a division of the SABS.  The 2004 DEFSA Conference broke away from the traditional approach of design educators talking to one another. The focus was on strategic stakeholders talking to educators about their requirements and views on design leadership and clients of design.

2001 DEFSA Conference

Mapping new Territories in Design Education

The 5th National and 4th International DEFSA conference was hosted in 2001 by a group of Gauteng Education Institutions: Technikon Pretoria, Technikon Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria and Vaal Triangle Technikon as part of the first National South African Design Week. The Fourth International Conference investigated the boundaries and interface between disciplines within the conference theme:

2000 DEFSA Conference

"Reshaping South Africa by Design"

The 4th National DEFSA Conference took place in February 2000. For the first time, a large number of individuals from different sectors came together to forge links and develop strategies for promoting design and design education, to the ultimate benefit of South African society.

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers

Design Educators of South Africa...

With your support & active membership, the Design Educators Forum of Southern Africa can positively influence the young designer's formative training and promote all facets of design across Africa