I am an enthusiastic graphic designer, I have been fortunate to explore various design practices and perspectives, from intercultural to decolonized design, as I have transitioned from China to America.

Currently, I am pursuing my second master's degree in the Design and Environmental Analysis program at Cornell University. I invite you to join me in my world of design and photography utopia.

Linghao Li |李凌昊
MA Design in D+EA ‘24 
MA Graphic Design and Visual Experience ‘22
BFA Visual Communication Design ‘16
Cornell University|SCAD|TAFA
+ 1 912-391-7213 | ll933@cornell.edu
Behance / Instagram / Linkedin / Mail

Design Works
Photography Works
Research Topic
About Myself

Throughout my academic and professional journey in past, I have been exposed to various aspects of research and design theory. However, my practical design work has primarily relied on existing research findings, and I hadn't actively engaged in in-depth research to analyze and comprehend design challenges from diverse perspectives. This inclination towards practice-based education likely contributed to my previous approach. Nevertheless, a pivotal shift occurred when I embarked on my research-based education in the United States.

Building upon my foundation in design theory and art education, I have significantly broadened my research interests. During my time at Cornell University's Human-Centered Design Department, I had the privilege of delving into Pluriversal Design in a systematic manner under the guidance of Dr. Renata. Simultaneously, I pursued a minor in Anthropology, mentored by Dr. Viranjini Munasinghe. This multifaceted academic exposure, encompassing Environmental Psychology, Human-Centered Design, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, and Pluriversal Design, propelled me into the world of research and helped me carve out my unique research path.

Presently, my research pursuits are centered around several compelling themes. I am particularly intrigued by the intersection of education and the development of nationalities and national languages, the challenges posed by hybrid typography within distinct writing systems, and the intricate relationship between design and human society. These investigations span the domains of cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and design anthropology. My enthusiasm for these subjects knows no bounds, and I wholeheartedly invite you to explore more about me and my research in the following messages. This passion fuels my commitment to creating a utopian future through my work. Welcome to my academic journey.

Aligning design higher education and social needs through Participatory Action Research
  • 21FA
  •  Paper under review
    Linghao Li & Shushu He
    Cornell University, Department of Human-Centered Design, Ithaca, NY, USA, 14850
    Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design, Milano, Italy, 20158

KeyWordsDesign higher education, Communication design, Intercultural communication, Participatory action research (PAR).

AbstractIn the rapidly developing techno-social environment, discipline of design is integrating and expanding into new fields, a trend that calls for improved intercultural communication. Didactical topics, such as science, socioecology, experimental design, interdisciplinary and intercultural studies have been adopted into current higher education in design to respond to new social needs. Much research has been done on higher education reforms, as well as on design education; however, discussions on the design higher education applicable to cross-cultural communication are still lacking, and there is also a mismatch between the development of teaching and practice in design higher education in different countries and regions. This paper will use data collection and interviews guided by participatory action research to examine and analyze the issues and identify the root causes of the problems to provide direction for subsequent design of higher education reforms to facilitate cross-cultural exchange. Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a methodology that has been widely used in educational reform practice. In this paper, PAR will be used as the primary theory to guide a series of specific analytical studies, including a study of the structural formula and degree programs of global mainstream design higher education, and a participatory group interview study using a laddering tool.
IntroductionHigher education in design is a unified system that originated from the foundation of the Bauhaus and the development of the Art Institute of Chicago (Jaffee, 2005). Sub-sequently different teaching methods and curricula in were derived among different countries. Inevitably, challenges occur in designing educational models that converge in higher education at a global scale (Findeli, 2001). The current higher education of design has been unable to adapt to today’s current needs, increasing the cost to both students and teachers and leading to a waste of resources. 

As one of the traditional disciplines in design higher education, take a specific ma-jor as an example, graphic design has successfully expanded its discipline boundaries to include communication design (Davis, 2017). Communication design uses innova-tive technologies, fast communication, convenient creative tools, and deep integration with social networks. Furthermore, various cultural contexts lead to different design practices on the same design topic, making designers’ intercultural design capabilities critical for the quality of design deliverables (Pillan et al., 2018). Enabling the inter-cultural design capability through design education thus plays a significant role since designers’ expertise is mostly gained from design education.

A mismatch between knowledge and practice occurs when the socio-tech environ-ment is changing so rapidly that a designer’s university education does not match the need to design for emerging technologies and users’ needs. The university teaches color composition, three-dimensional construction, and planar formation, when indus-trial practice demands practical practice in design students to help them develop a career path in the early stage of their study (Norman, 2018). Unfortunately, in many universities, especially in China, the faculty are detached from present-day industrial design practice. At the same time, the structural formula of design education varies among design higher education institutions and regions, and there are many variations over time (gradual refinement, etc.).

This article starts by reviewing and analyzing similarities and differences in the de-sign of high-quality higher education programs around the world from several direc-tions to find the direction of reform that suits the current development requirements. Since most educational reforms aimed at the current educational dilemma have not been successfully implemented in practice, maintaining their effects has been impos-sible (Janssen et al., 2013). Different school construction and pedagogical approaches promote differentiation in design higher education, while also resulting in different pedagogical priorities and outcomes. Design education, like other pedagogies, does not require every program to follow the same structure. However, with the growth of intercultural exchange going on, there is a need for design higher education institu-tions, especially in China, to learn from each other and to complement each other's strengths with international top design higher education in order to bridge the mis-match gap in design higher education to further widen and truly adapt to the needs of society.

The general research question of this project is: How to analyze the problems of the current situation of contemporary design higher education curriculum through PAR?

To address this general research question, I propose the following three specific re-search questions.
  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of designing higher education in different countries and regions?
  2. How does design higher education in different countries and regions differ in the structural formula of design education?
  3. What are the reasons for the different mismatches in design higher education in different countries and regions?
  4. Is there a possibility of Mutual learning?  

State of Art
Challenges in design education

Fig 1. illustrates the research scope at the intersection of comparative study of current situation and challenges in design education, advantages and disadvantages of design higher education globally, the challenges of intercultural communication, and the application of participatory action research in education.
The mismatch between teaching knowledge and practice. In the current global design higher education system, there exist two different education modes – 1) art and design majors in the research university, and 2) stand-alone schools for art and de-sign. The teaching modes of these two schools have many different focuses (Norman, 2020). From Bauhaus, Germany the new Bauhaus inheritance and innovation came to the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States, from the design education of Illi-nois Institute of Technology to the North American Association of Independent Col-leges of Art and Design (AICAD), the higher education in design in the United States has repeatedly taken the direction of skill and concept teaching. However, the global development of design higher education is uncoordinated that mismatch between teaching knowledge and practice. Victor Papanek believed that traditional design higher education focused on the cultivation of skills (Papanek, 1971). Although many years have passed since this view was expressed, the phenomenon of excessive em-phasis on teaching skills in global design higher education has not been effectively improved (Meyer, 2020). This is also reflected in the development of divergent spe-cialties in global design higher education. Although different branches of teaching concepts have been innovated and explored, this diversification has further slowed exploration in educational practice (Norman, 2011). As an example, China’s higher design education started at the same time as global design education in the last centu-ry but was only officially revived in the late 1970s due to war and politics (Sun, 2010). It is precisely because of its short developmental history, combined with the social opportunities of rapid economic growth, that China's higher education in de-sign has formed a completely different teaching framework. While China's design education methods have some advantages, gaps exist compared to global programs. For example, design curriculum content in China is outdated. China's design higher education needs to incorporate the curriculum of international innovative design dis-ciplines. However, the practical component of international higher education in de-sign, as led by the United States, is not as effective as in China (Sun, 2010). This is related to the lack of a cultural background like that in China, the scale of economic market growth, and economic vitality. And at the same time, more third world coun-tries are as backward in design higher education development as the overall higher education development in their regions due to historical and environmental factors.

1. The research scope of this article

The uneven development of leading schools in design higher education among different regions

Looking at the history of design and design higher education we can see that many of the once famous design schools have undergone disruptive changes in the present day. To ground this study in a more contemporary context, the researchers looked at three of the dominant higher education composite business rankings of for 2021 (Best National Universities US News Rankings, QS World University Rankings, and World University Rankings Times Higher Education), and the list of schools with art and design programs in the different rankings, we have confirmed the range of institutions for the comprehensive comparison analysis (Table 1). Two different types of universities, stand-alone design colleges and research universities, are included in this scope.

This paper is currently under review for publication, so more information is not yet available. Please stay tuned for the official publication of the paper.