Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi ve Endüstriyel Tasarım Eğitiminde “Ortadoğu” Ekolü: Yerele ve Dışarıya Sınırdaş Bir Türkiye Modernleşmesi Örneği

This article periodically investigates the historical development of industrial design education at Middle East Technical University (METU) and the contribution of the Department of Industrial Design to the professional context. The study also briefly reviews the political and economic factors affecting the beginning and development of industrial design education and profession in Turkey. The article explains how the department’s educational approach, curriculum, activities, and the pedagogical strategies it has developed in doing all these have evolved over time, by acknowledging the contributions of the educators in the process, and mentioning the factors affecting the professional milieu. The multiple beginnings of industrial design education in Turkey and more than 50 years of history of this field at METU are traced based on event records made in various years, interviews, internal documents, literature, state archives and newspaper archives. Since the authors themselves have witnessed the history of the department to a great extent, this study also carries the characteristics of an autoethnographic narrative. The article argues that industrial design education in Turkey is based on three ecoles, which are the “Academy,” the “Applied- Arts,” and the “Middle East”; unlike the Academy and the Applied-Arts ecoles that have developed in İstanbul, METU Department of Industrial Design has been positioned as the generator of the Middle-East ecole within the distinctive institutional culture of METU, established in Ankara, the capital of the Republic, in 1956 as an international campus university with education in English. Since industrial design education found its raison d’etre within the modernization mission of Turkey, METU, a university founded with an innovative approach, has provided a fertile ground for industrial design education, and the department has proceeded by leaning on the critical thinking approach that METU considers as essential. In the early years, the department developed a unique educational approach and curriculum in a gradually evolving structure, with its teaching staff coming from diverse backgrounds, by including the student as an actor in the process. METU’s nonhierarchical, egalitarian approach to governance has also been evident in the department. The younger generations who joined the department had the opportunity to develop themselves rapidly due to having equal responsibility and right to speak about educational matters. The founders, the first-generation core staff, handed over their administrative positions to the younger generation in a relatively early period, in the 1990s. During its foundation years, with its leading core staff, the department focused on structuring the education of a brand-new profession within the university system by bringing together different specializations. In the following years, the department created a research culture with the inclusion of the newly graduated academic generation as staff members, influenced the professional context by organizing local and international activities, and developed its educational approach and methods by getting continuous feedback from the field through its increasing collaborations with the industry. One of the major sources of the department for collaboration is its graduates. Having important roles in various sectors, the graduates bring their collaboration proposals to the department in graduation or term projects. Also, the graduates who have achieved international recognition abroad, working in global companies, or successfully running their own design consultancies, continue to carry the department’s domestic influence abroad. The academic infrastructure of the department is continuously updated by the expertise of faculty members who have done doctoral or post-doctoral research abroad. The department guides the academic agenda in its field with the national and international events it organizes such as Design, Industry and Turkey International Symposium (1994), Design & Emotion Conference (2004), DRS Learn X Design Conference (2019) and the National Design Research Conference (UTAK) series (since 2014). Since the 1980s, members of the department have played leading roles in many initiatives and activities that impacted the professional context, such as the establishment of Industrial Designers’ Society of Turkey (ETMK) (1988); the development of Design Turkey Industrial Design Awards (2008), and the establishment of Industrial Designers’ Commission to define professional rights and standards of industrial designers within the Chamber of Architects (2016).


A survey on the system of education at the Middle East Technical University Department of Architecture, 1956-1980
Uysal, Yüksel Yeşim; Altan, Tomris Elvan; Department of History of Architecture (2003)
This thesis explores the system of architectural education in the Middle East Technical University Department of Architecture between 1956 and 1980. The formation and the transformation of the system of architectural education in the school are investigated with references to the evolution of the social, political, economic and architectural context of Turkey in the period and the systems of architectural education applied in the country. The education in the Department of Architecture not only formed its s...
The role and significance of design exhibitions in the history of industrial design in Turkey : 1989-2008
Özçetin, Seda; Işık Tüneri, Figen; Department of Industrial Design (2008)
Exhibitions have played a significant role within the dynamics that have been effective in the development of industrial design in the West. Similarly, exhibitions have recently become a significant issue in the history of industrial design in Turkey. This study first looks into the exhibitions in the West and the dynamics that have been effective behind them, and draws an analytical framework accordingly, then presents the historical development of industrial design in Turkey. Through the key factors that ...
Industrial design students’ experiences of interdisciplinary teamwork
Demir, Özümcan; Kaygan, Pınar; Department of Industrial Design (2016)
Collaboration with the people from different disciplines has become an essential part of the contemporary industrial design practice. Along with the current trend of interdisciplinary teamwork in professional life, recently new interdisciplinary programs have emerged in university education. Despite the increased importance of interdisciplinarity for industrial design discipline, little is known about the perspectives of industrial design students on interdisciplinary teamwork. This thesis examines this gap...
A need analysis study for faculty development programs in METU and structural equation modeling of faculty needs
Moeini, Hosein; Alpsan, Doğan; Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology (2003)
The purpose of this doctoral thesis research study was first to investigate the needs for a faculty development program in Middle East Technical University (METU). Later, in the second phase, models that explained the linear structural relationships among factors that might be influential on faculty̕s perceived competencies about the skills necessary for the instructional practices, personal, professional and organizational developments were proposed and compared. In this study, a questionnaire considering ...
Strategies for an effective university-industry collaboration in industrial design education : a case study of graduation projects
Baysal, Ömer Orhun; Hasdoğan, Gülay Fatma; Department of Industrial Design (2007)
Industrially supported projects, which are an important part of industrial design education, have been carried on with an increasing pace in universities in Turkey for a long time. This thesis develops strategies to improve collaborative projects with industry in industrial design education, by examining how collaboration member benefit from each other’s and which problems do they encounter with collaboration; and to find out what the needs and expectations of all members are through a case study of graduat...
Citation Formats
G. F. Hasdoğan, F. Korkut, and N. A. G. Z. Börekçi, “Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi ve Endüstriyel Tasarım Eğitiminde “Ortadoğu” Ekolü: Yerele ve Dışarıya Sınırdaş Bir Türkiye Modernleşmesi Örneği,” Tasarım + Kuram, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 29–64, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://jag.journalagent.com/tasarimkuram/pdfs/DTJ-28290-INVITED_REVIEW-HASDOGAN.pdf.