A Cultural Inventory Tool for Studio: Advancing Cultural Consciousness in the Design


While conversations around equity, diversity, and inclusion have become more common, what tools and practices support these discussions the design education? How often do faculty and students reflect on the values present in the design studio? Will taking inventory of the cultural forces of the studio better support an inclusive culture? This research focuses on the questions above through the examination of cultural dimensions present in the design studio to better support more culturally sensitive environments. This study shares current research on cultural dimensions in studio-based education and a didactic, new Cultural Inventory Tool for Studio (CITS). CITS is a pedagogical survey tool designed for faculty, students, and designers that explores the presence and impact of ten cultural parameters in the studio and the spectrums of variability to comprehend the dimensions of culture most likely to impact studio-based education instructional situations. It aids in the examination, evaluation, and discussion of the values and practices present that influence how people work, think, and engage in diverse social, cultural, and professional situations. The survey tool is divided into three central categories: 1) Social Relationships which focuses on the social structures, intrapersonal power dynamics, and group dynamics, 2) Epistemological Beliefs which anchors the structure of knowledge and justified beliefs, particularly how they are formed and the frameworks that shape them, and 3) Temporal Perceptions which address concepts of time. This paper addresses CITS methodology, current CITS findings, and strategies for advancing cultural consciousness in design education.


Marianne Holbert
Teaching Professor, Environmental Design, University of Colorado, Colorado, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Design Education Research, Cultural Inventory, Cultural Dimensions, Diversity, Inclusion

Digital Media


A Cultural Inventory Tool for Studio (pdf)