DIDI launches Project Design Space to nurture next generation of UAE Designers

Press release
Published May 24th, 2017 - 10:52 GMT
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), in partnership with Dubai Design & Fashion Council
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), in partnership with Dubai Design & Fashion Council

Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), in partnership with Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC), has launched Project Design Space, an initiative to further enhance high school students’ knowledge of design as an academic discipline and potential career path.

In keeping with Dubai’s vision to nurture and develop design talent, students from five schools across the UAE have been taking part in a month-long pilot consisting of a series of teacher-led after-school workshops, with the purpose of enabling students to discover the designers and critical thinkers within themselves and to use design to solve real life challenges. The pilot project culminated in a presentation and award ceremony held at Dubai Design District (d3) on Saturday, May 20th.

“We are committed to developing the future generations of designers in the UAE and are very excited to see the positive responses from local schools to Project Design Space,” said Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, President of DIDI and CEO of TECOM Group. “The UAE has set ambitious goals to strengthen its position as an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy, and it’s our responsibility to support these goals by developing talented youth and inspiring creativity”.

The pilot commenced with teachers from each of the schools attending a training workshop, helping them gain a greater understanding of the design thinking modes required to take the design brief to the after-school program. Through three weeks of workshops, students were challenged to design an awareness campaign that educates the UAE public about the importance of design and its impact on society, simulating the real studio environment in which designers usually work. 

At the award ceremony, teams from American School of Dubai, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Dubai Scholars Private School, Sharjah American International School and GEMS International School Al Khail each presented a video of their design concept, before taking to the stage to pitch to a panel of industry professional judges. Among the proposals for educating the UAE public about design were a 3D print café, a youth festival featuring design workshops, and interactive design booths placed in strategic locations around the country.

Students from GEMS International School Al Khail were selected as the winner, with elements of their design proposal to be considered for incorporation into future DIDI engagement campaigns. All of the finalists received an invitation to tour select d3 studios to experience the hands-on work of design professionals.

“We consider real world learning experiences as a key vehicle to help students understand global perspectives. I’m pleased to see DIDI offer opportunities to high school students to stretch their ability to problem solve, create and innovate within a real world context” said Mr Evo Hannan, Head of Design and Innovation at GEMS International School Al Khail.

“The Project Design Space program has provided a unique chance for our students to think about the impact they could make on society as designers and creative thinkers. As a result, our students feel more confident with their creative abilities and have a greater understanding of how design and innovation projects are developed professionally” he added.

Teachers from 14 schools applied to lead their team of students in the pilot project, with the five successful schools selected based on the quality of their applications and their enthusiasm for the project.

DIDI plans to expand Project Design Space in Fall 2017 to include more than 30 schools across the UAE, as part of its ambition to create a unique learning experience for young designers to address real world challenges.  A call for applications will be issued in September and selected schools will receive new design challenges for their high school students to tackle.

DIDI is the first private, not for profit design school in the region, and was established following the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. DIDI plans to enrol the first class of undergraduate students on to its Bachelor of Design program in September 2018.

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