Top Design Schools Collaborate For Design Education

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Cape Town’s leading design schools have collaborated to create a programme that will leave an important mark on the country’s future design landscape.

“Design has emerged as an important and valuable school subject, but its potential and impact is determined by the mindset, passion and expertise of its teachers,” says Dr Carla Enslin, National Academic Navigator at the Vega School of Brand Leadership, a design campus of SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education institution, The Independent Institute of Education.

Called Platform 6, the programme is part of the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 project, and is designed to train and equip teachers to engage High School learners in the purpose and practice of design, and to share both technical knowledge as well as create a renewed passion for the potential design offers.

“The purpose of design is to develop original and meaningful solutions to challenges, to add value to peoples’ lives and to move the world forward. Platform 6 invests in South Africa’s future designers by working closely with their role models, mentors and teachers,” says Dr Enslin.

The programme is the product of a collaboration between a collective of educational and leadership organisations and authorities, as well as the best the country offers in terms of tertiary design education, including The Independent Institute of Education’s Vega School of Brand Leadership, AAA School of Advertising, Red&Yellow, Cape Town Creative Academy, the Western Cape Department of Education, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, The Ruth Prowse School of Art, Montebello Labs, and Rock City Foundation.

The inaugural Platform 6 training programme is currently midway through its 6 sessions or “platforms”, and all indications are that it will make a valuable and positive difference to the future of design in SA.

Each platform equips teachers to practically engage learners from Grades 10 to 12 in the purpose and practice of design, with the focus on the methodology of design thinking and teaching.

The various platforms are: The purpose of design & the design brief, Research for insight, Concept development, Concept to prototype, Prototype to realisation; and Assessment and reflection.

The Platform 6 programme was developed over an intensive series of workshops, with the Rock City Foundation and the Western Cape Department of Education serving as valuable guides and sounding boards in the critical review of initial insights, the midway assessment of the programme design and the final reflection on programme content, says Dr Enslin.

Platform 6 is set to run annually in the Western Cape, and will in future include schools and institutions from across South Africa.

“The legacy of Platform 6 will be evident in the levels of collaboration and joint commitment between tertiary design schools and the educators of young designers at high school level,” Dr Enslin says.

“The ultimate endowment lies in South Africa’s future designers and leaders’ contributions to building innovative and healthy industries and societies.”