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Design is at the heart of contemporary society and culture. It’s also at the core of UTS, which has a place among the global elite in this field, with the School of Design named among the world’s top 30.
According to the 2017 QS World University Rankings by subject (Art and Design), UTS School of Design now sits at number 29, a rise of two spots from 2016, placing it as the leading Art and Design School in NSW.
And this matters, says Associate Professor Kate Sweetapple, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) at UTS’s Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building:
“Corporations and government now understand how design thinking can be used to facilitate innovation and change. But what makes design even more important in the 21st century is how the discipline engages with technology at a human level.
“Good design practice ensures technology is able to meet individual, social and environmental needs in smart and sustainable ways.”
Head of School Professor Lawrence Wallen points out that UTS has been able to drive this approach thanks to a core commitment to design culture and practice:
“Over the last decade, the School has evolved its conceptual thinking but we’ve always retained a solid relationship to a material culture, one that that values the making of physical artefacts.
“This clarity of objective is critical. It’s reflected in the way our students can identify with their particular design disciplines, say fashion or interior architecture, and deepen their practice with interdisciplinary thinking and digital tools.”
UTS Design’s success also stems from its broad disciplinary expertise, with academic experts in six disciplines: Animation, Fashion & Textiles, Interior Architecture, Product Design, Photography, Visual Communication, plus an Interdisciplinary studies stream focused on design history, theory and thinking.
“To have this broad range of disciplines in the one school is quite unique,” continues Professor Wallen. “I think it’s what attracted many of the recent professorial appointments to the School. It means that you have the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary environment, which is critical to developing a meta-idea about what a designer is. You can reflect your own work and through the prism of many different disciplines.”
The School of Design is strongly connected to industry, global design culture and social justice issues. For example, students have benefited from partnerships with major companies such as Google and Westfield.
The studio-led format championed by UTS Design, includes an emphasis on Indigenous engagement and international experiences through its global and on-country studio programs. These encourage students to experience the world, raising students’ social awareness and situating them in the context of the international design discourse.