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Positive feedback about new Design and Arts Degree

Media Release

17 September 2014

Positive feedback about new Design and Arts Degree

Work is progressing to realise the Joint Wanganui District Council and UCOL Taskforce’s plans to reshape and revitalise the polytechnic.

In particular, a team of Whanganui UCOL creative staff have been busy finalising the curriculum of the new Bachelor of Design and Arts with iwi partners, staff and local artists, ready for NZQA accreditation.

Taskforce Chair, Mayor Annette Main, said she is pleased to hear that the consultation process undertaken by UCOL has been comprehensive. “I understand that the level and variety of engagement and support both within UCOL and externally has been heartening, and I appreciate the time that everyone has taken to express their views to ensure Whanganui has a strong arts programme to offer in the future.”

UCOL Acting Chief Executive Clare Crawley said “feedback has been very supportive and we are thrilled with how it has all come together so far. This includes the formation of a special iwi advisory group by Te Puna Matauranga to contribute their views and knowledge to this new programme which was extremely beneficial and ensures a strong Whanganui influence throughout the degree. We are very keen to keep this approach going once the degree is accredited.”

The proposed curriculum has had excellent expert input from staff as well as multiple meetings with community and industry stakeholders and UCOL’s Academic Quality team. The structure for the programme has now been set and the individual papers are being fine-tuned ready for lodging with NZQA.

Whanganui UCOL Associate Dean of Creative programmes, Katrina Langdon, led the consultation process and said “it was a robust way to test ideas and the curriculum has been strengthened as a result. Planned for delivery in 2015, this new degree will offer majors in visual arts, textiles/fashion design and graphic design, with electives such as warm glass, illustration, animation, life-drawing and printmaking. The degree offers the possibility of a double-major which enhances the ability of a student to graduate with a strong range of skills. The double-major requires the student to undertake an additional year of study in a second major. The start date for the degree is 9 March 2015 and anyone interested in the degree should phone the UCOL Information Centre and give their details” said Ms Langdon. Marketing of the programme begins at the end of the month.

UCOL Chair, Malcolm Inglis, said the Bachelor of Design and Arts is another positive step in response to the Joint Taskforce recommendations based on community feedback. “On the 8th of August this year we announced a plan to ensure the Campus is an integral part of Whanganui’s strategy for a vibrant and thriving riverfront. Each part of the Plan, which was co-designed by UCOL and the District Council, contributes to the aim of Whanganui UCOL becoming self-sustaining from 2017 onwards” he said.


Notes to reporters:

Bachelor of Design and Art & NZQA

The material required by NZQA is comprehensive, and UCOL is on track to lodge this information with NZQA in September ready for a planned NZQA Panel Visit scheduled for November.

Consultation Outcomes

The local community and industry stakeholders have been amazing – very positive and their various expertise have played a large part in ensuring the final structure is fined-tuned and well suited to Whanganui’s various creative communities.

Collaboration with Iwi

The iwi advisory group contribution ensures the new programme is enriched with local content and protocol. We are planning some focused curriculum development in collaboration with Te Puna Mātauranga o Whanganui in order to make sure this programme truly belongs to the Whanganui region.

Majors within the Degree

The Bachelor of Design and Arts has three majors: Visual Arts, Graphic Design and Textiles/Fashion Design which will be delivered separately by specialist staff.

Students will focus on one of the three majors and will also work collaboratively within a range of shared core and elective papers

Two Degree options

The new degree does not replace the current Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design. In fact the aim is to strengthen the Whanganui School of Design brand by offering two degree options under a well-developed brand name. Community feedback and consultation has demonstrated very clearly that Whanganui wants ownership of the local creative programmes in the sense that they are marketed with Whanganui in the title and with a unique branding that stands on its own within the general UCOL branding. Students who wish to focus purely on all aspects of Graphic Design and IT related time-based and print-based industries would still chose to enrol in the BCGD, with its strong focus on technical skills alongside concept development right through the end of year three. This has not changed.

What has changed is that there are an increasing number of art and design practitioners who work in way that crosses over between graphic design, visual arts, and other forms of design including fashion and textiles – the new degree recognises this, and offers an environment where three specialist majors are offered with a balance of both specialist individual learning and collaborative learning between all three disciplines.

For example:

• a student studying visual arts may wish to spend quite a lot on time in the graphic design environment if they chose to make digital artworks

• a student studying graphic design may wish to spend time in the textiles/fashion environment if they chose to focus their design skills on textile design and print

• a student studying textiles/fashion may spend time in visual arts if there were glass-casting body adornments of some type

These are just three examples of many possibilities.

Textiles/Fashion Design

Within the Bachelor of Design and Arts Textile/Fashion Design takes on a much broader interpretation than has been practiced in the Bachelor of Fashion. Students who undertake a Textile/Fashion Design major will have access to specialist fashion studios and may choose to construct garments, but they may also focus on a photography or illustration aspect of fashion, wearable arts, publication design, body adornments, textile design and print, designer objects using textiles etc. thus increasing their employment possibilities.

Studio Environment focus

The new degree has a much larger art and design studio focus than both the current degrees in Computer Graphic Design and Fashion. In year 3, students earn most of their credits through large blocks of time on facilitated studio projects – this could mean either a specialist fashion studio, a graphic design studio or an art studio, but the concept of working on major projects for most of year 3 in specialist studios with specialist staffing is the central theme. To complement the studio learning, students also undertake research methods, professional practice and intern papers in year three. This is significantly different than the current BCGD where students undertake a range of individual papers including technical electives right until the end of the programme. Collaborative, creative education with a focus on studio-based learning and ‘art and design making’ is the key to the new programme, whereas specialist dedicated Computer Graphic Design learning is the focus for the computer graphic programme.Both programmes will have their attractions for different students, and there is a place for more than one kind of graduate in the market place.

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