A world-first symposium at UNSW will look at new trends in the field of design education and the growing collaboration between architects, engineers and designers.

The ConnectEd conference, to be held at UNSW from 9 - 12 July, will bring together international and Australian delegates to discuss the promise and possibilities of design education that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

In addition to nearly 200 presentations from delegates, the conference will hear from two expert panels; the first on challenges facing Australian universities as we enter the 21st Century, and the second on major changes taking place in the structure of architectural education.

According to conference chair and Associate Dean (Education) of the Faculty of the Built Environment, Associate Professor Bob Zehner, the conference comes at time of significant opportunities for innovation and change within the design disciplines. Architectural education in particular is undergoing a revolution with Australian universities at the forefront.

"A revolution is not an overstatement. All architecture programs in Australia are moving toward a 'three plus two' structure where students do a three year Bachelor degree followed by a two year Masters degree with the Masters being the professional degree," Professor Zehner said. "That's a major change. It's one of those watershed opportunities for rethinking architectural education."

Conference participants will be arriving from 26 countries and over 70 universities. The initial keynote address will be given by Professor Henry Petroski from Duke University who will speak on 'Triumphs and disaster of design: lessons for collaboration'.

To coincide with the conference, 38 design and engineering students are building an enormous sculpture of a snake, nick-named Ed, twisting 40 metres up the university's Kensington Campus Mall. Its design and construction are part of a project to give students the skills to work together in the real world.

The ConnectEd conference is a collaboration of the Faculties of the Built Environment and Engineering and the College of Fine Arts.

What: ConnectEd International Conference on Design EducationWhen: 9 to 12 July, 2007Where: UNSW Kensington campus

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Media Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 3263 or 0424 580 208Professor Bob Zehner, Faculty of the Built Environment, 02 9385 4835