Fostering a Toleration of Uncertainty

Friday 27th June, 10:10 to 10:50


Clive Hilton

The presentation is now available at

The session will take the form of an exploration of case studies centred around teaching activities undertaken during the MSc Industrial Product Design and MSc Design & Transport programmes. A key characteristic of this PG programme is that it is comprised almost entirely of international students from a variety of nationalities and cultures. It has become apparent that international design students have a way of thinking and understanding design processes that is qualitatively different to that of native UK students. A key observation is that such students are highly goal and process orientated and find it difficult when asked to engage with and find solutions for open-ended tasks, free-ranging enquiry and ‘wicked problems’. Such students are, comparatively intolerant of uncertainty. The exercises and activities discussed here are aimed at exposing students to situations in which uncertainty, randomness and the unexpected are deliberately and procedurally introduced as a demonstration that such forces can help trigger powerful creative responses.

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