Russian Dolls in Mexico

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  • Title: Russian Dolls in Mexico: Creating Pedagogical Prototypes that Reflect Sustainability Issues and Research in Design
  • Author(s): David Pariser, Salvador Edmundo Valdovinos Rodríguez
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Education
  • Keywords: Sustainability, Design, Art Education, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Research, Wonderful Ideas
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2326-9944 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-0306 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Pariser, David, and Salvador Edmundo Valdovinos Rodríguez. 2019. "Russian Dolls in Mexico: Creating Pedagogical Prototypes that Reflect Sustainability Issues and Research in Design." The International Journal of Arts Education 14 (2): 15-27. doi:10.18848/2326-9944/CGP/v14i02/15-27.
  • Extent: 13 pages


This paper presents the results of a three-day workshop in October 2017 at which the authors introduced the links between design and sustainability to a cross-disciplinary group of design faculty members from the Design Sciences Center at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes. The workshop had three objectives. One was to encourage social and interdisciplinary collegial collaboration across departmental lines. The second was to have participants describe and discuss some of the key issues that they face in teaching design to undergraduates, of which the most pressing was that students did not recognize that successful design solutions must take into account issues of economic and environmental sustainability. The third objective was to have teams of participants create a physical model to illustrate the multiple design factors related to sustainability. These models, which took as their inspiration a Russian folk doll, known as the “matryoshka,” were intended for use in the classroom as visual aids for teaching design. The workshop was framed by two perspectives: creativity and teaching design. Dr. Pariser’s research draws on material from cognitive and social psychology relating to creativity. He has examined great artists’ juvenile work. He suggested some of the conditions that are conducive to developing creative solutions to problems. Dr. Valdovinos presented the teaching design perspective. His cross-cultural PhD research examined how two universities instruct design students to use research in the process of problem solving. He presented a synopsis of and findings from his thesis. His study focused on effective ways to teach and learn research for design and design for sustainability. He examined both the pedagogical practices of educators who were involved with research for design and the ways in which their students learned research skills.