Initial interest

I was working as a lecturer in the Foundation Programme at the Academy of Design when I noticed that my curriculum leaned towards a more empathetic learning module than teaching the technical skills. My module, named Design Thinking, wasn reshaped into Human Centred Design based on Empathy, and the programme delivery was tried and tested each year. Currently, there is no place in Sri Lanka that teaches this module, and after I left my job to do my Masters, it has taken a back seat. The module was taught in two parts:

  • Self-empathising - To have a deep look at their own trauma, and to analyse their emotions, actions, words, and consequences, and to create for those like themselves.

  • Outward empathy - Where they select an emotion or experience they know nothing about it, do research (primary and secondary) and cater to a target audience.

During my years as a lecturer, a few things I noticed were:

  • I had a strong connection with my students.

  • I was better equipped to handle my own emotions while learning to handle the extreme emotions of students.

  • That by putting the human centred design element combined with research, the students had a better understanding of themselves, others, and how to design for a community.

  • Even after they had graduated from my class, most students held a strong emotional connection with me and my class.

  • There was a certain level of trust and intimacy was that created within the classroom, not only between the students and I, but between the students themselves.

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For five years (2017 - 2021) I taught Human Centred Design at the Academy of Design in Sri Lanka. First it started as Language of Design, and I changed the curriculum to reflect what the true language