A rich history

With a history spanning over 180 years, UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture (ADA) traces its roots back to the establishment of The Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts in 1833. UNSW was founded 116 years later in 1949. From those early beginnings, a bold vision emerged with the establishment of the first three faculties of the university – Architecture, Engineering and Science in 1950.

In the decades since, significant milestones have seen the faculty continue to evolve. In 1959, the creation of the Faculty of Arts underscored the institution's commitment to fostering creativity. The subsequent introduction of the Fine Arts curriculum in 1990 solidified the role of art and culture as essential components of a holistic education. In 2014, UNSW College of Fine Arts transformed its name to UNSW Art & Design with the purpose of acknowledging its commitment to the breadth of contemporary creativity.

Today, the faculty comprises of six diverse schools, Built Environment, Education, Humanities & Languages, Social Sciences, Art & Design and Arts & Media. This expansion reflects the changing educational landscape. UNSW ADA encourages alumni to approach challenges with creativity, collaboration and inclusion to improve life on earth.

  • 100K Alumni
    Across 70+ years of ADA
  • 118K Degrees
    Awarded to alumni
  • 127 Countries
    Make up our global community
"I never get tired of learning about the great contributions that ADA alumni are making - in so many professions and in multiple countries across the world. And it was four current ADA students who brought this alumni project to life. I'm grateful for their work and vision as we celebrate this 100k milestone together."
Professor Claire Annesley, Dean, UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture
100K alumni and counting

Use the interactive histogram below to track the total number of alumni who have joined our UNSW ADA community across each decade. Starting with 25 graduates in the 1950s to celebrating 100,000 alumni in 2023. What might our numbers look like by 2050?

Description: Pictured above is a histogram displaying the total number of alumni who have joined our community across each decade.

Alumni stories

Meet some of the alumni who have embodied UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture's mission to improve life on earth. They have generously shared their journey from student to alum and how their time at university shaped them personally and professionally.

Craig Kerslake: Designing from Country

Bachelor of Arts 1998
Bachelor of Architecture 2006

Drawing upon the knowledge of his ancestors, Craig’s designs encapsulate Indigenous narratives and culture. Craig is taking the art of architecture to new realms, one that is devoted to creating buildings that serve their communities and foster connections.

Del Kathryn Barton: Trusting the process

Bachelor of Fine Arts 1993

Del is a celebrated Australian visual artist. After honing her craft for over 25 years, she's now making her mark in the world of film with her debut feature film Blaze.

Alisa Tian: Interpreting more than words

Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics & Advanced Chinese Studies) 2008
Master of Philosophy (Knowledges and Ethical Practices) 2022
Current PhD Candidate

Meet Alisa Tian, a linguist, SBS interpreter and passionate educator, whose experiences at UNSW have helped her to reimagine the role of language in shaping our culture and society.

Dr Na’ama Carlin: Shaping minds

Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) Social Sciences & Policy 2011
PhD Social Sciences 2016

Dr Na'ama Carlin is a devoted UNSW educator in the School of Social Sciences. Her proudest moments are when she witnesses her students excelling in their passions.

A global community

Diverse and united, no matter where you are in the world, you’re part of a strong network of people advancing knowledge, building industry and making the world a better place. Use the interactive map below to explore where in the world our UNSW ADA alumni are living and find out how many alumni are near you.

Description: Pictured above is a map displaying the latest known location of our alumni.

Being part of this network will provide you with unique opportunities throughout your career and we’d love to come on this journey with you. Explore the many ways you can connect below.  

Get involved

Be part of UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture's alumni celebrations and share your story. Together, we're shaping a brighter future.

Share your story

Discover more of our UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture alumni who are pushing boundaries, tackling problems and creating lives with purpose.

Lives with purpose

ADA students who contributed to this project: Mario Flores Gonzalez (data visualisations), Alvin Zhu (videography), Ava Lacoon-Robinson (copywriting and profile transcription) and Oliver Ashby (music).