Dr. Bernadette Blair was invited to attend, as a keynote speaker, the International Design Education Forum of South Africa (DEFSA) conference in Johannesburg this month. The conference was held in the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). This was the 6th DEFSA conference and was entitled ‘20/20 Design Vision’ celebrating the 20th year of this organization. The conference was attended by delegates from many African countries and also other international institutions.
Bernadette’s presentation reflected on the last two decades where we have seen the designer’s role and brief broaden. She discussed how with the introduction of the personal computer, the Internet and wireless technology and social networking, designers /academics have experienced dramatic changes, especially in their rapport with space, time, the physicality of objects, and themselves as individuals. Her presentation focused on how, with the expansion in student numbers and a reducing resource in Higher Education, the studio-based design pedagogic community is responding and adapting its teaching and learning methodologies in response to these rapid developments and is effectively utilising feedback opportunities to inform curriculum and student’ understanding and equipping them for the profession they are entering.
Bernadette also toured FADA at UJ and discussed with academic staff and the dean of faculty shared practice and developments. Kingston’s reputation for art, design and architecture is well known. The links made will be furthered by a visit from the Dean of FADA UJ to Kingston University later in the year and will hopefully lead to further opportunities for collaboration in the future.
Picture gallery of the conference can be viewed at