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100 years of Bauhaus: paving the way for the digital designers of today

The IT service provider adesso advocates reforming IT education, which is why it supports an initiative spearheaded by Bitkom, Germany’s digital association. Following its Digital-Design-Manifest in 2018, the association – together with adesso and other IT institutions – is now calling for the creation of digital design academies to house the IT educational centres of the future.

In its recently published collection “Digital Design@Bauhaus”, Bitkom and its institutional supporters outline ideas for a new qualification profile, one which European universities from this field are to convey in future. The challenge: IT experts today need an increasingly interdisciplinary education that imparts both technological and design skills in order to be able to deal with modern digitalisation projects. The role of these digital designers, as they will be known, can be compared to that of architects in the construction industry. The importance of developing this new career path at universities (these new digital design academies) is also confirmed by Bitkom in its latest policy document, “Digitale Bauhäuser für den europäischen Weg in die digitale Zukunft” (“Digital design academies for the European route into the digital future”). As representatives of the IT service industry, adesso made a significant contribution to the document in the Bitkom digital design working group.

The design and architecture school Staatliches Bauhaus, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, serves as a conceptual model for the authors. Dr Frank Termer, head of software at Bitkom, adds: “The Bauhaus approach was founded in a situation comparable to the one we are in today, where new technical possibilities required an evolution of creation skills and expertise in architecture and design. Digital design academies, as we imagine them, could adopt the Bauhaus combination of university, laboratory and think tank for ideas for the future and – like Bauhaus – steer the focus towards people.”

The authors of the collection visiting the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau (copyright: Bitkom)

At the moment, less than 3 % of all courses of study in IT and design are potentially suitable for training digital designers. In its policy document, Bitkom therefore recommends that the German higher education system be specifically equipped with the means to set up independent digital design academies and to develop the European route towards digitalisation by creating new career profiles and courses of study.

In the collection “Digital Design@Bauhaus”, the authors from the digital design working group at Bitkom describe how the digital design course of study would look, along with the possibilities and special features of “digital as material”. Dr Kim Lauenroth, who represents adesso in the executive board of the Bitkom digital design working group and was among the authors, adds: “With digitalisation, we are experiencing a new era, similar to that experienced at the time Bauhaus – whose very ideals serve as our guiding light – was formed. Our aim is to train innovative and creative digital designers for successful and sustainable digitalisation in Germany and throughout Europe.”

According to the authors, the digital design career profile also offers a huge opportunity to attract a broader group of potential students and significantly more women, who do not feel catered for by the courses of study in IT that are available at the moment.

Dr Kim Lauenroth, adesso, is chair of the Bitkom digital design working group and one of the authors of the “Digital Design@Bauhaus” collection (copyright: adesso)

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