Manifestos on values and ethics



Ethics & Values

Design Phase:

Values Theory






This teaching activity introduces students to various types of values and ethics manifestos from related fields such as design, architecture, art, and humanities. Through this activity, students will become able to name several manifestos, compare different value statements, and in turn, explain which ethical and/or political stances they agree with and which they are against as designers.


When writing their own design manifesto, students often focus on what they themselves believe in, meaning that they pay little attention to what others believe in.

However, in order to take a position and avoid intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself, it is important to be aware of diverse viewpoints and to learn not only to agree but also to disagree with others in a constructive manner. The students will gain this understanding by reading several inspiring and thought-provoking examples of manifestos from multiple fields and discussing their individual stances.


After the teaching activity students will be able to:

  • name some example manifestos,
  • compare different value statements and ethical stances,
  • explain their own value position by reflecting on what they agree with and what they are against.


  • Look at the Chorus of Values worksheet provided and determine whether to alter any of the values by looking at some different values and ethics manifestos from diverse fields/sources (for inspiration see the list of Design manifestos provided).
  • If some of the values listed in the Chorus of Values worksheet are exchanged with some other values, make sure to select quotes that are pithy, provocative, and inspiring. Include diverse and sometimes conflicting value statements.
  • Distribute the Chorus of Values worksheet to the students.
  • Prepare a brief lecture about values and ethics manifestos (what they are, what some examples are and where they come from).


  1. Ask the whole class to read out loud the ten value statements together in chorus.
  2. Give your short lecture about values and ethics manifestos.
  3. Again, ask the whole class to read the ten value statements together in chorus, but this time, tell students to read out loud only for the ones that they agree with, and keep silent for the ones they disagree with.
  4. Ask students to break into a small group to discuss which statements they agree or disagree with and why.
  5. Ask students to compose their own value statement in a single sentence, either individually or in a small group.
  6. Ask students to share their personal or group value statements.
  7. Have a discussion about the value statements.


To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).


Assess students’ learning by asking them to write a reflective report (formative assessment) wherein they compare some of the manifestos discussed in the lecture or they find themselves focusing on highlighting the difference in value statements and reflecting on which ethical and/or political stances they agree and disagree with.

Assess students’ learning by making them record a personal video (ipsative assessment) where they address some the manifestos introduced in the lecture and how this has made them develop as responsible designers and think differently about their own value position.


In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:

  • showing their awareness of the role of manifestos and how different manifestos foreground different value positions, politics or ethical stances,
  • comparing the different value statements and ethical stances in the manifestos and reflecting on the implications for working with values in design,
  • explaining their own position as responsible designers by arguing for the value positions, politics or ethical stances they agree with or disagree with.