Design Principles & Practices International Award for Excellence

The Design Principles & Practices Journal Collection offers an annual International Award for Excellence for new research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Design Principles & Practices Research Network.

Award Winners for Volume 11

Reconceiving Creativity in Design Studio Education

The rapid expansion of design practice beyond a focus on artefact into new domains of service, strategy and social innovation has reignited discussion in scholarly literature on the role of creativity in design thinking and practice. Collective forms of creativity and the use of broader creative cultures are increasingly critical to sustainable practice, allowing designers to respond effectively to complex cultural, social, environmental, and economic challenges. Changes in the landscape of the design industry raise important questions about how design educators can foster the kinds of creative experiences and skills that will allow students to effectively engage in the new array of professional design opportunities available to them in the twenty-first century. This article describes a first-year interior architecture studio that aims to enhance students’ creative capacity by setting up a “total learning environment” (Reid and Petocz, 2004) for creativity through actively legitimising creativity and providing ample opportunity for collaboration to enhance creativity. The article identifies key learning objectives underpinning the course design, outlines the curriculum strategies employed, and examines the outcomes of the studio framed by creativity research and recent literature on the changing role of design practice.


Design practice is increasingly recognised for its capacity to contribute to innovation in transdisciplinary arenas. In contemporary professional contexts designers are contributing to progressively broader areas of strategic and social innovation. Supported by national priorities and global design communities that recognise design as a significant driver of innovation, higher education institutions are compelled to reframe transformative curricula with an emphasis on strategic, creative, collaborative and entrepreneurial graduate capacities. These qualities will allow graduates to contribute to solving complex cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges and engage in new professional practice arenas.

Research demonstrated the positive impact of a range of curriculum strategies employed to enhance students’ creative and collaborative capacity in a first-year interior architecture studio. This case study lead to further investigations into the pivotal role of peer tutors in the development of a creative studio culture, the enhancement of a collaborative community of practice, and students’ engagement with iterative processes of design learning (Zamberlan & Wilson 2015, 2017).

This research increased awareness of the need to close the gap between new developments in the expanded field of design and the response in higher education and contribute to new ways of building students' creative and collaborative capacities in the design studio. To build on this, our future research aims to better understand new forms of collective creativity in design practice, and use this knowledge to actively re-shape the design studio learning environment.

Lisa Zamberlan and Stephanie Wilson

Past Award Winners

Volume 10

A Catalyst for Change: Understanding Characteristics of Citizen-driven Placemaking Endeavors Across Diverse Communities

Normoyle, Catherine, and Cotter Christian, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.41–58


Volume 8

Design Collaborations: The Good, the Bad, and the Unthinkable

Joe McCullagh and Jane McFadyen, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.17–29


Volume 7

Drawing Conclusions: A Student’s Introduction to the Realities of Their Designs

Chad Schwartz, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.9–28


Volume 6

Design Dramaturgy: A Case Study in New Media, Humor and Artificial Intelligence

Michael M. Meany and Tom Clark, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.59–71


Volume 5

Framing Futures for Visual Communication Design Research

Ian Gwilt and Jennifer Williams, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.81–98


Volume 4

Prefab-Interiority: Design Principles for a Sensuous Prefab Practice

Marie Frier, Anna Marie Fisker, and Poul Henning Kirkegaard, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.415–426


Volume 3

Building a ‘box’: Discourses of School Design in the UK

Olga den Besten, John Horton, Peter Kraftl, and Peter Adey, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal—Annual Review , Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.95–104