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Ethical Dilemmas in Managing and Teaching Live Sponsored Student Projects

Live projects, involving real places, real issues and real users are usually welcomed by art and design students and staff as valuable test beds for learning and research. Live projects release students from the tyranny of the screen and counteract self-referential paper projects by immersing students in the grain and complexity of the physical, social and political world at large. However, live projects also raise a number of issues that have not been widely discussed and which deserve examination. This paper explores ethical dilemmas that arise from sponsored student design projects and reflects on how these can also surface in pro bono live projects. The paper concludes by advocating a framework for good practice informed by staff, student and client feedback, as well as the live projects protocols that have been created by the Innovation Centre at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

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