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Art and design outside the square

Art and design outside the square

Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) introduced a brand new art and design degree this year - the Bachelor of Creative Technologies (BCT). The BCT with majors in visual arts, interior design, digital media, product design engineering and cultural design, is described as an interdisciplinary, multi-dimensional and collaborative programme designed to produce graduates who are forward thinking and can work across disciplines.

One trimester into the year and the results are remarkable. The students have been exposed to a wide range of disciplines including photography, digital film and television, web and print media and multimedia and are gaining experience working on real projects.

BCT student, Lee Browne completed the Certificate in Visual Arts full-year programme last year and moved into the first year of the BCT in March. “Before coming to WelTec, I had looked into studying at university but was interested in the practical aspect more than theory. I did some research and spoke to the tutoring staff about what was involved in the programme. I was interested in painting and design and WelTec’s programmes seemed just right.”

The ability to staircase into degree level programmes has meant that Lee has been able to build on her studies from last year allowing her to gain two qualifications in three years. “In the certificate programme we learnt the basics with photography, print making, drawing and workshop. In the BCT, we’ve built on that and have worked on collaborative projects, new media, and critical studies and have handed in a body of work.”

Lee has been enjoying the collaborative project experience. “We’ve been working in groups looking at creating interventionalist art. A lot of groups looked at global warming since it is quite topical at the moment. Our group have looked at promoting recycling in a positive way, as a fun everyday thing. Initially we planned to produce posters and stickers but the project really grew and we ended up doing a presentation for Wellington City Council. The council were really positive, they gave us some good advice and feedback.”

Lee has enjoyed the mixing of disciplines in her degree. “One of the new things for me has been new media - I’ve mixed photography and drawing into a film. As a visual arts major, I find the collaborative and critical studies really good as we get to combine with students working in film. They have different skills - so we learn from them each other. You learn to change the way you’re talking about things and you learn to explain yourself more in this environment.”

The students are enjoying the recently redeveloped Wellington CBD Campus with new design studio space, multi-media facilities, new photography/AV studio, new wireless computer studios and much more. “It’s been great to have the studio space - they give us the walls and tables and we can do as we want. It’s great to have that kind of consideration. You have the inspiration in class and you can go back to the studio and work and we can bounce ideas off of one another.”

Lee has nothing but praise for the BCT teaching staff. “All the tutors are great. Most of us know the tutors really well and find they are really approachable, you can go to them about anything. I like the fact that we don’t have hundreds of students, the tutors know our working style - they come up with the projects and know how we’ll react to them. You know all the people in your class. They can tailor it to your own style. Our tutors aren’t just tutors they are artists, we’re being taught by people that we aspire to be.”

Lee herself is considering a career in teaching among other things. Like the BCT, she sees no reason to be restricted by just one area. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business or my own art gallery. It’s not just one thing. I’d like to teach one day.”


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